The Kenyan government's plan to transfer 55,000 registered refugees to camps violates their rights to free movement and will restrict their access to already scarce resources and services, Human Rights Watch (HRW) warned on Monday (January 21st).
"Kenya is using the recent grenade attacks to stigmatise all refugees as potential terrorists and to force tens of thousands of them into appalling living conditions in already severely overcrowded camps," said HRW senior refugee researcher Gerry Simpson. "The plan to forcibly transfer tens of thousands of people from the cities to camps is unlawful and will cause extreme hardship."
HRW reported that the Ministry of Provincial Administration and Internal Security announced plans to target 18,000 refugees for eviction beginning this month, taking them to Nairobi's Thika Municipal Stadium pending transfer to the camps.
The Kenyan government on December 18th ordered all refugees living in Kenya's urban areas to return to Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps in response to several grenade attacks and explosions in various locations across the country. After the announcement, hundreds of Somali refugees living in Kenya's urban areas started returning to Somalia.