alexa Rights report accuses police of raping Somalis seeking refuge - Daily Nation

Rights report accuses police of raping Somalis seeking refuge

Monday August 15 2011

UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos (R) visits Somali refugees on August 14, 2011 at the Dadaab refugee complex. PHOTO /  AFP

UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos (R) visits Somali refugees on August 14, 2011 at the Dadaab refugee complex. PHOTO / AFP 

By JACOB NG’ETICH [email protected]

Police were on Monday accused of human rights violations including gang raping and extorting money from refugees.

The report also accused the Kenyan government of also providing military assistance to militias supporting Somali’s transitional government (TFG) without acting to ensure accountability for abuses by their troops or by the militias they support.

The Human Rights Watch report, “You don’t know who to blame: War Crimes in Somalia”, reports extensively on human rights violations by the Kenya Police on the Somali asylum seekers and refugees face as they try enter into the country.

The report gives accounts of two women who were raped by police near Daadab.

However, despite the promise by police to conduct investigations into the allegations of rape and other abuses nothing has happened so far.

In another allegation, the reports says that in January, three policemen from Daadab station gang raped a newly arrived asylum seeker.

Advertisement

“Police told us they were aware of the rape case but claim their investigation did not enable them identify the perpetrators. No one was prosecuted for the crime. Instead the police response was to transfer the implicated police office from Daadab to other stations,” said one of the UNHCR staff in an interview with Human Rights Watch.

Attacked by bandits

The report details that the Somali refugees and asylum seekers prefer to pass though panya (illegal) routes where they risk and are indeed attacked by bandits who beat them and rob them, than face the incarceration Kenyan police who were notorious in arresting, detaining and deporting.

“Kenyan police would ask you for an ID and if you don’t have it, you have to pay a bribe or you are put in a cell. I was arrested but released before I was taken to the main police station. The people I called brought Sh5,000 and paid the police officer who arrested me,” said one refugee.

Kenyan Refugees Act provides that asylum seekers have 30 days from the moment they enter the country to be registered at the nearest office of the Kenya refugee’s commissioner. They may not be refused entry into the country if the country they are going back to is the one they have been expelled from.

Human Rights Watch report also accused the Kenyan and Ethiopia governments and its parties to the conflict, of having deployed units of their armed forces in military operations in southern Somalia in 2011.

It gives details of how informants have reported the presence of Kenyan and Ethiopian soldiers, military advisers and equipment in Somalia during the most recent phase of armed conflict.

A resident of Bula Hawo interviewed by the world rights body said Kenyan forces were responsible for the destruction of the town.

“What destroyed Bula Hawao were the weapons that the Kenyans were firing using tanks,” said the resident.

In the border town of Dhobley, a community hospital was seriously damaged by possible deliberate or indiscriminate shelling from Kenyan tanks and artillery. Witnesses say that the shelling of Dhobley begun from the Kenyan side of the border.