Open Letter to the UNHCR Office
Friday, April 18, 2014
To the Office of UN – High Commissioner for Refugees, Switzerland, Geneva.
Subject: Arbitrary arrest and deportation of refugees in Nairobi
Dear UNHCR Team,
KANERE is concerned at the way in which refugees are harassed, intimidated, arrested and deported to Somalia in security sweeps from Kenya.
We suppose you’re already on the case; but we’d like to let you recognize that we’ve received many calls and complains from the refugees who are arrested by police in Nairobi. We haven’t done a lot but we do the stories about them for Kanere’s publication!
Many refugee families of Somali and Ethiopian origin have been illegally detained even while they possess the government issued Alien ID cards. The house to house searches have led to bribes, extortion, exploitation and other abuses on their wellbeing. Refugee families are arrested and transferred to different police stations within the city since the security operation began. Hundreds of such cases have ensued and are still happening on a daily basis to refugees residing in the urban areas of Nairobi.
The essence is that Kenya is signatory to the 1951 Geneva Convention and the 1969 Charter of the OAU. In domestic law, it has the Kenya Refugee Act of 2006; however the swoops on refugees and scapegoating of them violate the true spirit of the sovereign state to protect persons of concern!
As High Commissioner for Refugees, KANERE is asking if this theme should be addressed in a more human and dignified manner and that refugees should be given a time frame to prepare if they must be forced into already overcrowded refugee camps?
We take the liberty to ask your office to proactively approach the Kenya government to stop arbitrary arrest of refugees, illegal detention and deportations.
With sincere regards,
KANERE Editorial Board
NB This letter was published earlier in the Fahamu Refugee Legal Aid newsletter – see link below