Kenya urged to permit, register Somali refugees

May 23, 2013 11:59 am
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The government stopped the registration of the refugees in October 2011 at border points and in urban centres and ordered all those seeking asylum to do so at the Dadaab refugee camp/FILE
The government stopped the registration of the refugees in October 2011 at border points and in urban centres and ordered all those seeking asylum to do so at the Dadaab refugee camp/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, May 23 – The Kenyan government is being urged to resume the registration of Somali refugees at borders and in urban centres to assist those seeking shelter from conflict settle down.

The government stopped the registration of the refugees in October 2011 at border points and in urban centres and ordered all those seeking asylum to do so at the Dadaab refugee camp.

According to Amnesty International Country Director Justus Nyang’aya, this has left refugees vulnerable.

“Amnesty International is calling on Kenya to resume registration at the border and in urban centres and to cease all threats to arbitrarily close the camps and forcibly return all residents to Somalia,” he said.

“The authorities must continue to allow entry to Kenya to individuals seeking refuge from the Somali conflict.”

Nyang’aya called on Kenyan authorities to allow the entry of refugees as required under international obligations.

“Those who live outside their countries without wealth or status are the world’s most vulnerable people but are often condemned to desperate lives in the shadows,” he said.

Kenya’s decision to halt registration was part of a security effort to clamp down on Al-Shabaab insurgents.

Nyang’aya said that since that time however, the security situation in Dadaab has deteriorated and the lack of registration in urban centres and border points is contributing to the problem.

He pointed out that the dilemma is not confined to only Kenya but to other countries as well.

“In 2012, the global community witnessed a range of human rights emergencies that forced large numbers of people to seek safety, within states or across borders. From continued insecurity in Somalia to Mali, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, people fled their homes in the hope of finding safe haven,” he stated.

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