In Summary
  • Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku told the Nation organisations accusing the country of mistreating refugees are destructors with an “interest” in ensuring refugees do not leave at all.

The government on Wednesday tore into a report by a global human rights body on Somali refugees in Kenya, claiming the organisation was keen on slowing down the repatriation programme.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku told the Nation organisations accusing the country of mistreating refugees are destructors with an “interest” in ensuring refugees do not leave at all.

“Those doing business with refugees have no business masquerading around the issue of refugees’ welfare.

“Their interest is to keep refugees here and ours is to facilitate their safe return home,” he said.

Amnesty International on Tuesday charged that Somali refugees in Kenya are unwillingly returning home because they are being harassed.

In its latest report on Somali refugees, the organisation claimed that authorities are making life “unbearable” for refugees by either denying them registration or disregarding their identification passes.

“In recent years, there have been increasingly restrictive measures on the ability of asylum-seekers to register as refugees, and today it is almost impossible…Lack of registration is in itself a reason asylum-seekers consider returning to Somalia,” the report says in part.

The document titled No Place like Home: Returns and Relocations of Somalia’s displaced further claims that some Somali refugees want to go back because this lack of registration means they cannot get any other service.

“The refugees and asylum-seekers Amnesty International spoke to said that it was usually a combination of factors that led them to return or consider returning to Somalia. Primary among these were the limited access to food, health care and other services.”

Amnesty did not indicate how many have returned to Somalia because of discrimination, although the government recently claimed as many as 80,000 had returned ‘voluntarily.’

But the government accused Amnesty of making “wildest” allegations. Presidency Spokesman Manoah Esipisu told the Nation the government will “reject the allegations with the contempt they deserve.”

Page 1 of 2