Stop Kenyan Police from Torturing Refugees

Target: Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta

Goal: Condemn and forbid the use of torture by the police of Nairobi

Police in Kenya’s capital of Nairobi have been implicated in over 1,000 cases of unlawful detainment and torture of Somali refugees over the past three months. The police frequently raided houses, stealing belongings and beating the refugees therein after arbitrarily branding them terrorists. In seven cases, they also raped women who they accused of assisting terrorists. These reprehensible actions qualify as torture, and Kenya’s acceptance of the United Nations Convention Against Torture obligates the Kenyan government to investigate these incidents and punish those responsible.

These police abuses are believed to be part of a larger campaign by the Nairobi police to brutally relocate the approximately 55,000 Somali refugees following a Department of Refugee Affairs announcement blaming the refugees for terrorist attacks in the area. However, none of the refugees branded terrorists, illegally detained and tortured were found guilty in court.

These abuses, in addition to being morally reprehensible, are illegal under international law. They unfairly discriminate against refugees and deny their rights. Unless this torture is condemned and forbidden, and the officers responsible for it prosecuted, Nairobi’s refugee population will never be safe. Demand justice for the victims of this flagrant abuse, and ensure that it does not continue.


Dear Uhuru Kenyatta,

Over the past three months, police in Nairobi have perpetrated a campaign of thievery, violence and torture against over 1000 Somali refugees. They have been implicated in raping several women, stealing from dozens of stores and illegally detaining and beating hundreds of refugees who were later found to be guilty of no wrong-doings by the courts. The refugees were not treated justly, however, and the police officers who took advantage of them still roam the streets, victimizing other refugees.

These actions qualify as torture under the United Nations Convention against Torture, and must be treated as such by your administration. Furthermore, the illegal discrimination against refugees is also illegal under provisions set by the U.N. The men who have perpetrated these horrible crimes must be investigated and tried, and the use of torture by the police department forbidden. Until you do so, the vulnerable refugees of Nairobi will live in constant danger.


[Your name here]

Photo Credit: State Deparment via DIPNote

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