359 illegal immigrants deported to Somalia: HRW
What you need to know:
- It is unlawful to force people to return to a country where they risk being persecuted or tortured
- Deporting people to conflict zones in Somalia shows a total disregard for their rights and their safety
Kenyan authorities have deported 359 illegal immigrants to Somali since the launch of a security crackdown in April 2014, Human Rights Watch has said.
HRW claimed three of those deported are registered refugees.
“In the latest move, Kenya deported 98 people, including 12 children, to Mogadishu on May 20 without warning the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) about the deportation,” HRW claimed in a statement Friday.
HRW Senior refugee researcher Gerry Simpson said it was unlawful to force people to return to a country where they risk being persecuted, tortured or exposed to other serious harm arising from generalised violence.
“Deporting people to conflict zones in Somalia shows a total disregard for their rights and their safety,” he said.
He added that according to UNHCR, on April 9, the Kenyan authorities deported 83 people, followed by 91 on April 17, and 87 on May 3.
UNHCR said the Kenyan authorities denied them access to the first three groups of deportees before they left the country.
In January, UNHCR issued guidelines on returns to Somalia and called on countries not to return anyone before interviewing them and ensuring they do not face the threat of persecution or other serious harm if returned.
Mr Simpson said the Kenyan government should allow any Somalis identified for deportation to challenge the move in court or to claim asylum.
“If Kenya is unwilling to stand by its national and international legal obligations and register asylum seekers and consider their claims prior to deportation, it should allow UNHCR to step in,” Simpson said.