Somali refugees face increased attacks in Kenya, rights groups say

Somali asylum seekers and refugees in Kenya are experiencing increased attacks from gangs and harassment from the police, human rights activists say.

Ten rights groups said on Tuesday that the assaults have increased after the Kenyan government ordered Somali refugees to go back to remote and overcrowded camps on December 18, 2012.

An official statement published in Kenyan national newspapers said that “all asylum seekers and refugees from Somalia should report to Dadaab refugee camps, while asylum seekers from other countries should report to Kakuma refugee camp.”

The order came after Kenya’s northeastern Somali regions and the capital city of Nairobi were hit by a series of attacks. Several explosions also took place in the largely ethnic Somali district of Eastleigh.

The statement added that the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other partners that serve the refugees have been asked to stop “providing direct services to asylum seekers and refugees in the urban areas and transfer the same services to the refugee camps.”

According to the UNHCR, more than 33,600 Somali refugees live in Nairobi alone.

More than 468,700 refugees mainly from Somalia are living in Dadaab, which is located about 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the border with the conflict-plagued country.

Kakuma also hosts more than 103,600 refugees, nearly half of whom are from Somalia.

MR/PKH


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