23 January 2013

Kenya to Forcibly Move Refugees Who Refuse Voluntary Relocation

Photo: WFP/Justin Smith
High Court stops the government from relocating refugees to the camps.

The Kenyan government has announced plans to forcibly relocate refugees who do not voluntarily move to one of Kenya's two refugee camps, Kenya's Daily Nation reported Wednesday (January 23rd).

"We are working out the modalities of their movement to camps and their eventual return to their countries," Permanent Secretary to the Internal Security Ministry Mutea Iringo said. "If they do not move, we will get them and return them. We are working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other agencies involved in their issues."

Iringo blamed the influx of refugees for rising crime rates and scarce resources in towns.

Kenya has ceased registering new refugees, according to acting commissioner for refugee affairs Badu Katelo. Kenya hosts an estimated 450,000 Somali refugees, according to UNHCR.

On December 18th, Kenya ordered all Somali refugees in the country to relocate to camps, an order that Human Rights Watch said on Monday was a violation of refugees' right to freedom of movement.

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