UNHCR Kenya Statement on false claims about transfer of refugees from Kakuma to Nairobi

This statement is issued in response to recent false claims on social media that UNHCR was involved last week in transferring refugees from Kakuma refugee camp to Nairobi. The encampment policy of the Government of Kenya dictates that all refugees and asylum-seekers on Kenyan territory must reside in one of the refugee camps established in Dadaab and Kakuma. In some instances, the Government of Kenya can grant an official waiver to refugees and asylum-seekers permitting them to reside in urban areas. Furthermore, on 6 June, the Government of Kenya extended movement restrictions in and out of the Nairobi Metropolitan Area by an additional 30 days. Therefore, movement between Kakuma and Nairobi and vice versa is currently not allowed.

As with anyone residing in Kenya, refugees and asylum-seekers are bound to respect the laws and regulations of their host country. UNHCR discourages in the strongest possible terms refugees and asylum-seekers from attempting to leave the refugee camps for Nairobi or any other area in the country. Doing so at this time would be in direct violation of the Government of Kenya’s encampment policy and COVID-19 directives. It would also expose them to possible sanctions and would put their and other people’s health at risk.