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UNHCR seeking access to detained asylum- seekers and refugees in Nairobi

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UNHCR seeking access to detained asylum- seekers and refugees in Nairobi

7 April 2014

UNHCR in Kenya is concerned at the wave of arrests that have taken place during the week end in Nairobi, following recent terrorist attacks in the capital. The police sweeps were concentrated at Eastleigh neighbourhood where the majority of urban Somali refugees and asylum-seekers live and where some of the attacks occurred.

UNHCR has been informed that those arrested are held at various police stations as well as at the Kasarani Stadium.

In line with its mandate, UNHCR has sought access for itself and its partners to the detained refugees and asylum-seekers. This access will allow UNHCR to properly identify refugees, asylum-seekers and others of concern. It will also allow the agency to provide assistance to the detainees and obtain their release where appropriate.

UNHCR understands the security concerns of the Government of Kenya and the steps taken to protect the people who live in the country including asylum-seekers and refugees. UNHCR appeals to the law enforcement agencies to uphold the rights of all those arrested and to treat them in a humane and non-discriminatory manner.

Of the 550,980 refugees and asylum seeker in Kenya, 50,800 mostly Somali live in Nairobi.


Asylum-seekers and refugees are to be protected against arbitrary arrest and detention, including the right to have the reasons for their detention reviewed by a court of law in a timely manner.

For more on UNHCR's position regarding the rights of refugees and asylum-seekers in detention, see UNHCR, Guidelines on the Applicable Criteria and Standards relating to the Detention of Asylum-Seekers and Alternatives to Detention, 2012, available at:

For further information, please contact:

  • In Nairobi, Emmanuel Nyabera, mobile +254 733 995 975