Somali refugees' rights violated in Kenya: Report
19 February 2014, 17:07
Nairobi - Amnesty International, the human rights group, said
widespread intimidation, the abuse of human rights and the withdrawal of
services are forcing Somali refugees out of Kenya.
“The environment in Kenya is now so hostile that some
refugees feel they have no option but to return to Somalia where the ongoing
conflict in parts of the country continues to destroy lives. This is tantamount
to forced return” stated Sarah Jackson, Deputy Regional Director at Amnesty
Her sentiments followed Wednesday’s launch of an Amnesty
International’s report titled, “No Place Like Home.”
According to Jackson, it revealed how life for Somali
refugees has been made unbearable.
People are denied access to registration, meaning they are
illegally staying in Kenya, and were actively targeted by the police with
indiscriminate arrests, she added.
“The combination of insecurity and harassment has left
refugees struggling to survive in Kenya. They are effectively being pushed out
of their safe havens. For returns to be legal, they must be voluntary. That
means without undue pressure, with their safety and dignity guaranteed. At
present we are extremely concerned that these criteria will not be met,”
She said the vast majority of refugees interviewed by
Amnesty International felt they were being compelled to leave Kenya.
“According to international law, voluntary returns can
only take place when safety and dignity is guaranteed. How can this be possible
when grave human rights abuses happen on a daily basis in Somalia?” she said.
She said government and stakeholders must protect the
“The Kenyan government and UNHCR (United Nations High
Refugees) are duty bound to protect refugees in Kenya.
Pressuring people to return to areas of active armed conflict where their lives
and freedom are at risk is prohibited under international law.”
– CAJ News
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