Saturday, December 11, 2010

Kenya: Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa/HRLHA Urgent Action and Appeal

Police Crackdown on Refugees in Nairobi, Kenya

Fear of Deportations and Tortures

The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) has learnt through its correspondents that, in a severe crackdown that has been going on in Nairobi Kenya since the 4th of December, the Kenyan police have arrested more than 700 refugees who are originally from neighbouring Horn of African countries and have been in Nairobi for varying lengths of time.

The crackdown that has discriminately targeted refugees is taking place following two separate grenade attacks that happened a week ago in Nairobi in which three police officers were killed. It has also been claimed that the crackdown is a part of measures being taken to make the upcoming holiday celebrations and festivities free of violence and attacks. The big question is, be it due to the said grenade attacks or the upcoming holidays, why the crackdown specifically targeted the homeless and defenseless refugees only.

The Kenyan Police have admitted that they have arrested 346 people whom they describe as foreigners. HRLHA has confirmed that 52 of those arrestees are refugees from Ethiopia, while the majority of the rest are Somali refugees. The refugees where picked up from on the streets, restaurants, hotels, and from their temporary shelters, and then were forced on to police trucks, according to HRLHA correspondent in Nairobi.

Among the many Ethiopian Oromos who have been taken into custody from the Capital, Nairobi, HRLHA has managed to obtain the names of the following:

1 .Ifa jireenyaa
2. Tofik Aliyi
3. Dr Bishaan member of ormo community committee
4. Haji abduraman member of ormo community committee
5. Kadir member of ormo community committee
6. Guyyo Biqaa
7. Edin Waaqoo
8.Areero Meegaa
10.Ashrafu Ali
11.Mariya Abdalla
12.Abdulaxif Amiyuu and many other whose names are not yet Known

Background Information

Previously, the Kenyan Government deported many refugees of Ethiopian Oromo and Somali origin at different times to their respective homelands in breaching the international refugees’ rights agreements. Some of those deportees have been subjected to severe punishment including death sentence and life in prison.

Besides, 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 in some cases sentences them to long terms in prison. Some face the harshest punishment including death penalty. Ethiopia currently has two former refugees, Engineer Mesifn Abebe and Mr. Tesfahun Chemeda, who were given death sentences and awaiting execution after being arrested similarly by the Kenyan police in Nairobi, Kenya and deported to Ethiopia in 2008. There have been credible reports of physical and psychological abuses committed against individuals in Ethiopian prisons and other secret places of detention.

HRLHA has a profound belief that the two countries – Kenya and Ethiopia – are acting jointly in hunting, arresting and punishing alleged members and/or supporters of opposition political organizations and human rights activists. The obligation that a country should not return a refuge to the country they have fled, 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 handing over the Ethiopian and Somali refugees to their respective governments, the Kenyan Government is breaching its obligations under international treaties as well as customary laws.

Under the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1465 U.N.T.S. 185), the Kenyan Government has the obligation not to return a person to a place where they are likely to face torture or ill-treatment. Article 3 of the Convention against Torture provides that:
1. 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.

Due to these and other similar facts, HRLHA is highly concerned about the fate of those arrested refugees. Therefore, HRLHA calls upon regional and international humanitarian and diplomatic communities and agencies to approach and pressurize the Kenyan Government to disclose the whereabouts and the current situations of those refugees, and also refrain from deporting them. HRLHA also calls upon those same agencies and communities to exert pressure on the Horn of African countries to refrain from becoming tools of authoritarian regimes and instead respect the rights of refugees to safety and protection according the regional and international refugees rights agreements.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to the Kenyan Government and its concerned officials as swiftly as possible, in English, Kiswahili, or your own language expressing:

concern at the apprehension and fear of deportation of the refugees who are being held in detention since December 4, 2010, and calling for their immediate and unconditional release;
urging the authorities to ensure that these detainees are treated in accordance with regional and international standards on the treatment of prisoners.


Ministry of States for Provincial Adminstration and Internal Security
Hon. Pof. George Saitoti, E.G.H., M.P.,
Harambee House, Harambee Avenue
P.O. Box 30510, Nairobi
Tel. 02 227411
Telegrams: “RAIS”

Commissioner of Police
Mr. Mathew Kirai Iteere MGH,CBS
Kenya Police Headquarters,
Vigilance House, Harambee Avenue,
PO Box 30083, Nairobi Kenya.
Tel;- 02 341411/6/8

President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces
His Excellency the Hon. Mwai Kibaki C.G.H., M.P
Harambee House, Harambee Avenue
P.O. Box 30510, Nairobi
Tel. 02 227411
Telegrams: “RAIS”

Prime Minister
Hon. Raila Amollo Odinga., M.P
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Office at Geneva
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Fax: + 41 22 917 9022
(particularly for urgent matters)
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots.

UNHCR main office Geneva, Switzerland.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Case Postale 2500
CH-1211 Genève 2 Dépôt
Suisse. telephone number: +41 22 739 8111 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +41 22 739 8111 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
African Commission on Human and Peoples‘ Rights (ACHPR)

48 Kairaba Avenue, P.O.Box 673, Banjul,
The Gambia.
Tel: (220) 4392 962 , 4372070, 4377721 – 23
Fax: (220) 4390 764
U.S. Department of State

Tom Fcansky – Foreign Affairs Officer
Washington, D.C. 20037
Tel: +1-202-261-8009 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +1-202-261-8009 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Fax: +1-202-261-8197
Amnesty International – London

Tom Gibson
Telephone: +44-20-74135500 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +44-20-74135500 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Fax number: +44-20-79561157
Email;- TGibson@amnesty.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

• Human Rights Watch – New York, Tel: +1-212-290-4700 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +1-212-290-4700 end_of_the_skype_highlighting


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