Kenya + 2 more

UNHCR Dadaab Update 06/14, 01 - 15 April 2014

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LATEST NEWS – Urban Refugees Arrive in Dadaab

79 refugees and asylum seekers who had been residing in urban areas arrived to the Dadaab camps on 18th and 19th April. They were transported by the Department of Refugee Affairs (DRA) from the Safaricom Stadium in Kasarani, Nairobi, to Hagadera camp.

The first group of 23 urban refugees and asylum seekers left Nairobi at around 22:00 hrs on 18th April and arrived to Hagadera at 11:30 hrs the next day. The second group of 56 persons left Nairobi at around 22:00 hrs on 18th April and arrived in Hagadera in four smaller groups in hardtop land cruisers on 19th April between 11:00 and 17:00 hrs.

The new arrivals, who were exhausted from the journey and their stay in Kasarani stadium, were given drinks and a hot meal. Sick persons received medical treatment and were transferred to Hagadera hospital. UNHCR staff interviewed the new arrivals and collected information on their status and families they had left behind in Nairobi. Among the 79 are 41 Somalis, 36 Ethiopians, one Kenyan and one Cameroonian. 59 are registered refugees (some of them registered only with DRA in Nairobi) and 20 are unregistered. Of the 41 registered Somali refugees, 20 had registered in the Dadaab camps and 21 in Nairobi. 48 mostly Somali refugees joined relatives and friends in Hagadera, Ifo and Dagahaley. The remaining 31 persons originate from Ethiopia and Cameroon and are currently staying at the transit centre in Hagadera camp.

UNHCR distributed blankets, sleeping mats, jerry cans and mosquito nets to them.

Issues of concern to UNHCR include:

  • Many families have been split, including children separated from parents. The refugees and asylum seekers were transported directly from Kasarani stadium to Dadaab without notice to family members or the opportunity to reunite with them;
  • Refugees registered in Nairobi were relocated to Dadaab without being given the opportunity to collect their property;
  • Persons who do not wish to seek refuge and therefore do not require protection of UNHCR were brought to Dadaab;
  • A 15 year old Kenyan national and people married to Kenyan nationals were brought to Dadaab.

Arrests and detentions of refugees in Nairobi and other urban areas in Kenya started on 1st April as part of a large scale security operation of the Kenyan government. On 26th March, the Kenyan government had issued a directive stating that all urban refugees would be transferred to camps in Dadaab and Kakuma.