UNHCR urges Kenya to continue upholding refugee rights, cautions against stigmatizing refugees

from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 20 Dec 2012

UNHCR is concerned by the recent security incidents in Kenya which have killed scores of Kenyans as well as refugees. The UN refugee agency condemns these attacks and extends its sympathy and solidarity to all victims, the Kenyan people and their government.

UNHCR has noted recent public statements linking the presence of refugees to these security incidents. We caution against stigmatization of refugees and asylum-seekers.

The UN refugee agency also takes note of the Government's recent decision to discontinue the reception and registration of asylum-seekers in Nairobi and other cities and move these activities to the refugee camps in Dadaab and Kakuma. UNHCR understands that registered refugees will be allowed to remain in the places where they have established themselves.

Recognizing Kenya’s long-held commitment to refugee protection, UNHCR urges the Government of Kenya to continue to uphold the rights of refugees and asylum seekers, who have fled to Kenya in search of protection.

UNHCR will continue to support the Government of Kenya in ensuring that asylum-seekers have access to reception and registration procedures, as well as other services to meet their protection and assistance needs. UNHCR counts on the authorities to ensure that adequate land and facilities are made available so that the provision of asylum in Kenya remains in line with international standards.

Kenya, a signatory of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and the 1969 OAU Refugee Convention, has generously been providing a safe haven for refugees for decades. Currently the country hosts some 630,000 refugees, of whom more than half a million are from neighbouring Somalia.