UNHCR urges Kenya to continue upholding refugee rights

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Accra, Dec. 24, GNA – The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), has expressed concern over the recent security incidents in Kenya, which have killed scores of Kenyans as well as refugees.

       The UN refugee agency condemns these attacks and extended its sympathy and solidarity to all victims, the Kenyan people and their government.

       This was contained in a press statement by UNHCR made available to the Ghana News Agency on Monday.

       “UNHCR has noted recent public statements linking the presence of refugees to these security incidents. We caution against stigmatization of refugees and asylum-seekers,” the statement said.

       It said the UN refugee agency also took note of the Government’s recent decision to discontinue the reception and registration of asylum-seekers in Nairobi and other cities and move these activities to the refugee camps in Dadaab and Kakuma.

       It said the UNHCR understood that registered refugees would be allowed to remain in the places where they had established themselves.

       The statement emphasized that recognizing Kenya’s long-held commitment to refugee protection, UNHCR urged the Government of Kenya to continue to uphold the rights of refugees and asylum seekers, who had fled to Kenya in search of protection.

       It said UNHCR would continue to support the Government of Kenya in ensuring that asylum-seekers had access to reception and registration procedures, as well as other services to meet their protection and assistance needs.

       The statement said UNHCR expected the authorities to ensure that adequate land and facilities were made available so that the provision of asylum in Kenya remains in line with international standards.

       “Kenya, a signatory of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and the 1969 OAU Refugee Convention, has generously been providing a safe haven for refugees for decades.

       “Currently the country hosts some 630,000 refugees, of whom more than half a million are from neighbouring Somalia,” the statement added.

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