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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 International.


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,”

added Jackson.


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 refugees.


“The Kenyan government and UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for

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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24 October 2016, 13:19

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