30 April 2014

Human Rights Watch has called on Kenyan authorities to stop arbitrary detentions, summary returns and other abuses against Somalis during security operations. 

On 9 April, the Kenyan authorities summarily deported 82 undocumented Somali nationals from Nairobi to Somalia. Kenyan officials have said that they plan to deport all undocumented Somali nationals as part of the response to recent grenade and other attacks in Kenya by unidentified people. Since April, almost 4,000 people are reported to have been arrested and detained. Kenya’s Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku said: “The process will continue until we do not have illegal aliens and those found to have refugees documents are taken to refugee camps.”

According to Human Rights Watch, by summarily deporting Somali nationals, Kenya risks violating its obligations under national and international law not to return anyone to situations of persecution or generalized violence. Any undocumented individuals should be given the opportunity to file an application for asylum, Human Rights Watch said.

Gerry Simpson, Senior Refugee Researcher at Human Rights Watch stated that “scapegoating and abusing Somalis for heinous attacks by unknown people is not going to protect Kenyans, Somalis, or anyone else against more attacks. Kenya’s deportation of Somalis to their conflict-ridden country without allowing them to seek asylum would be a flagrant breach of its legal obligations”.

Last January, UNHCR published guidelines on returns to Somalia and pointed out that the country remains a very dangerous place and called on countries not to return anyone before interviewing them and ensuring they will not face persecution or serious harm if returned.

For further information ►

This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 30 April 2014
You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.