Target: President Uhuru Kenyatta, president of Kenya
Goal: Stop the arbitrary deportation of Somali Refugees from Kenya
As violence in Somalia continues to grow, many people are seeking asylum and protection in neighboring countries. Many have fled to Kenya, but unfortunately their struggle to find a safe home does not end there. Over the past few months, Kenyan security forces have arrested thousands of people and deported nearly 100 native Somalians. The arrests and detentions are, in many cases, completely arbitrary. Some Somalian refugees even report abuse during security operations. The Kenyan government must end these rash actions and allow refugees time to file asylum claims before they are rounded up and shoved out. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta must revise policies to ensure that no one group is unfairly persecuted in his country, and that those arrested are treated fairly and with dignity.
Conditions are deplorable in the jails where many Somali refugees are being held. According to the human rights group, Human Rights Watch, at one jail prisoners had no room to sit or lie down and cells were disgustingly covered in waste and urine. At that jail, some people sat for up to eight days before being taken to court, much longer than the 24-hour limit set down by Kenyan law.
These crackdowns and abuses are being carried out in response to recent terrorist attacks in Kenya, which many in the country believe were carried out by Somalians. However, there is little evidence to suggest that these unidentified attackers are indeed all Somalian. Certainly, not every Somalian who enters the country is there to commit acts of terror. Since the beginning of April, 4,000 people have been arrested in Kenya’s major cities, as part of a massive security operation enacted by the Kenyan government, for the purpose of ridding the country of undocumented Somali immigrants. Many of those arrested were not undocumented and were not given the opportunity to show their papers until they had been jailed for several days or bribed local officials.
Dear President Uhuru Kenyatta,
Due to recent attacks in Kenya by unknown assailants, it is understandable that your government wishes to find an expedient solution and keep your citizens safe. However, mass scapegoating and deportations of Somalian refugees is unacceptable. Many of those arrested and deported were documented and not a threat to the community.
I am writing to you today to urge you to revise policies of deportation, and to stop the unfair persecution of Somalian refugees. I am also demanding that conditions in the jail be improved, and that the dignity of prisoners be respected.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Chris 73 via wikimedia commons