Amnesty urges Kenya to stop crackdown on refugees and asylum seekers

Amnesty International (File Photo)

September 1st 2018 (Nyamilepedia)  – The Amnesty International has called on the Kenyan government to stop the ongoing crackdown which is involving the arrests of South Sudanese refugees loving in the east African country. 

The Kenyan Police is on an arrest spree in a crackdown against foreigners illegally working in the country and as results, South Sudanese had been caught in this arrests despite being citizens of East African Community.

In a statement issued by the Amnesty International on Saturday,  the rights organization said Kenyan government must stop the ongoing crackdown on undocumented migrant workers.

“Kenya must halt the ongoing crackdown on undocumented migrant workers that have seen homes raided and hundreds of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers arrested around the country,” the rights group said.

The raids have intensified since 27 August, when the country’s Immigration Department set up a hotline number for citizens to report irregular migrants in their neighbourhoods. The authorities’ actions targeting irregular migrants have mostly affected refugees and asylum seekers according to rights organizations.

The Amnesty condemned the Kenyan police’s decision to give hotline numbers to its citizens to report about migrants.

“It is extremely worrying that citizens are being encouraged to call a hotline to report cases of suspected undocumented migrants,” Self Magango,  the Amnesty’s director for Ease Africa and Great Lakes region said. 

He said the approach by the Kenyan authorities is likely to ignite xenophobic sentiments against foreigners working and living in the country including refugees and asylum seekers.

“This approach is likely to ignite xenophobia against foreign workers, refugees and asylum seekers,” he said. 

The Amnesty urged the Kenyan government to review the arrest of the foreigners including those with legal docent before any tribunal procedure urging for the release of the refugees and asylum seekers.

“This hotline should be immediately shut down. All those arrested in the crackdown should have their detention reviewed before a tribunal, to verify whether it is lawful, necessary and proportionate. All refugees and asylum seekers arrested in this crackdown should be released, as they cannot be deported,” Seif further said. 

On 21 May 2018, the Kenyan authorities began a 60-day process of verifying work permits held by foreigners in the country. On 24 August, Cabinet Secretary for Interior Fred Matiang’i ordered the Immigration Department and security forces to arrest, detain and deport all irregular migrants by 30 November.

The directive has led to numerous house raids in Nairobi and its environs, including Rongai, Mwiki, Pangani, Ngong, Kasarani and Githurai, and in other towns, such as Bungoma, Nyeri, Eldoret and Nakuru. Amnesty International’s finding show people from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan (i.e. countries of origin of many refugees and asylum-seekers) have been affected.