The following is an Urgent Action statement from the Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA). HRLHA is a nonpolitical organization (with the UN Economic and Social Council – (ECOSOC) Consultative Status), which attempts to challenge abuses of human rights of the people of various nations and nationalities in the Horn of Africa.
HRLHA Urgent Action
April 14, 2014
For Immediate Release
The Kenyan police and security agents have arbitrary arrested and detained around 6000 refugees who are originally from neighboring Horn of African countries; and have continued hunting for more, reported HRLHA reporter in Nairobi, Kenya on April 13, 2014.
This indiscriminate action against all immigrants who have been in the country began on Friday April 2, 2014; and has mainly targeted the immigrants living in Eastleigh District of Nairobi, a neighbourhood largely dominated by Somalis and Oromo immigrants and is often referred to as district of immigrants. More than 400 Oromos and other Ethiopian immigrants have been arrested in these crackdowns. The crackdowns against immigrants by Kenyan Police and security began is said to been in response to the three bomb blasts in Eastleigh/ Nairobi and Mombasa in late March 2014, which killed about 12 people and injured 8 others. According to HRLHA’s informant, more than two thousand asylum seekers and refugees have been detained in the Kasarani Football Stadium in the Capital, a location described as a temporary police station, while some are being held at the Pangani police station.
Among hundredths of Ethiopian Oromos arrested in Nairobi, HRLHA has managed to obtain the following names:
The HRLHA has also learnt that the Kenyan police and security forces are extorting valuable materials and also committing physical and mental abuses during the arrests. Besides, the Kenyan authorities have disclosed to different media agents that they are intending to deport all UNHCR unregistered asylum seekers; and have already deported 82 Somali refugees based on a pretext that they entered into Kenya without legal document.
The HRLHA would like to reiterate that deportations of refugees to their countries of origin against their wills are in breach of Kenyan and international laws. In case those Ethiopian-Oromo and other refugees have been deported, the Ethiopian Government has a well-documented record of gross and flagrant violations of human rights, including the torturing of its own citizens who were involuntarily returned to the country. The government of Ethiopia routinely imprisons such persons and sentences them to up to life in prison, and often impose death penalty. There have been credible reports of physical and psychological abuses committed against individuals in Ethiopian official prisons and other unofficial or secret detention centers. Under Article 33 (1) of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (189 U.N.T.S. 150), to which Kenya is a party, “[n]o contracting state shall expel or forcibly return a refugeein any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his . . . political opinion.” This obligation, which is also a principle of customary international law, applies to both asylum seekers and refugees, as affirmed by UNHCR’s Executive Committee and the United Nations General Assembly. By deporting the four refugees and others, the Kenyan Government will be breaching its obligations under international treaties as well as customary law.
1. Under the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1465 U.N.T.S. 185) to which Kenya acceded in 1997, Kenya has an obligation not to return a person to a place where they face torture or ill-treatment. Article 3 of the Convention against Torture provides: No state party shall expel, return (“refouler”) or extradite a person to another state where there are substantial grounds to believe that they would be in danger of being subjected to torture.
2. For the purpose of determining whether there are such grounds, the competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations including, where applicable, the existence in the state concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights. We strongly urge the government of Kenya to respect the international treaties and obligations it has signed.
The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) is highly concerned about the safety and security of all asylum Seekers and refugees detained in all Kenyan Police stations and other detention centers including the above listed asylum seekers and refugees and for those who are still living in Kenya. It urges the government of Kenya to respect the international treaties and obligations, and unconditionally release the arrested asylum seekers and refugees, and refrain from handing over to the governments of their countries where they would definitely face torture and maximum punishments. It also urges all human rights agencies (local, regional and international) to join the HRLHA and condemn these illegal and inhuman acts of the Kenyan Government against defenseless refugees. HRLHA requests the governments of the Western countries as well as international organizations to continueinterfering in this matter so that the safety and security of the arrested asylum Seekers and refugees and those refugees currently staying in Kenya could be ensured.
Please send appeals to the President and Deputy President of the republic Kenya and its concerned officials as swiftly as possible, in English, or your own language expressing:
– Your concern at the apprehension and fear of deportation of the refugees who are being held in detention since they were arrested, and calling for their immediate and unconditional release;
– Urging the authorities of Kenya to ensure that these detainees are treated in accordance with regional and international standards on the treatment of prisoners.
– His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya P o. Box 74434-00200 Nairobi, Kenya , Tel: 254 203 247000
– His Excellency William Ruto , Deputy president of the Republic of Kenya Email: The Deputy president@ODP-Kenya OR firstname.lastname@example.org