Human Rights First’s Refugee Protection Program. “The Road to Safety Strengthening Protection for LGBTI Refugees in Uganda and Kenya.” New York: Human Rights First, 2012.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) refugees are often among the most vulnerable and isolated of refugees. This is especially true in places where they are at heightened risk due to violent attacks, discrimination, and laws that criminalize same-sex relations. In addition, in many countries around the world, LGBTI refugees are targets of bias-motivated attacks and sexual and gender-based violence. Around seventy-six countries criminalize consensual same-sex conduct. After fleeing persecution in their own countries, LGBTI refugees often find themselves at risk again in the countries where they have sought protection. In Uganda and Kenya, for example, where research for this report was conducted, LGBTI refugees and those associated with them have been abducted, beaten, and raped. Some have been forced to relocate their homes frequently to avoid the scrutiny and potential hostility of landlords, neighbors, or other refugees who would harass, threaten or evict them if their sexual orientation or gender identity were discovered. Human Rights First has identified a number of key steps to be taken to improve the situation of LGBTI refugees. In many cases, existing programs and resources can be enhanced or connected more effectively to address gaps in protection. These improvements can largely be achieved using existing resources but through better coordination, information, and advocacy, all leading to improved protection in both the short and long term. Not taking the steps outlined in this report would mean leaving LGBTI refugees with little protection—at risk of violent attacks at the hands of host communities and other refugees, and without protection from the police. Tackling these challenges now will help ensure that protection is provided equally and without discrimination, and will dramatically increase the safety of LGBTI refugees.