Kenya | Human Rights Watch

HRWAs of October 2009 the almost 20-year-old refugee camps in Dadaab, northeast Kenya, held around 280,000 mostly Somali refugees, more than three times their initial planned capacity. At least 50,000 of the refugees were new arrivals in 2009. The massive overcrowding has resulted in appalling conditions, with insufficient shelter, water, and other services. By October donors had committed around US$40 million to Dadaab, about 45 percent of the estimated needs. The Kenyan government failed to provide more land for new camps, despite lengthy negotiations with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.Many of the new refugees from Somalia faced abuses at the hands of Kenyan police while crossing the officially-closed border.As the Somali crisis intensified throughout 2009, there were growing reports that Somali refugees in Kenya were being targeted for recruitment by parties to the armed conflict in Somalia, including the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and al-Shabaab, an Islamist opposition group. The recruitment of refugees violates the fundamental principle in international law that refugee camps should be entirely civilian and humanitarian in character.In October Human Rights Watch documented a recruitment drive, on behalf of the TFG and supported by the Kenyan authorities, that swept up Kenyan nationals alongside hundreds of Somali men and children from the Dadaab camps. The men and youths were often duped into enlisting by tales of high salaries and UN or international support for the force, and were then taken to a Kenyan military facility for training. Human Rights Watch also received credible accounts of al-Shabaab forcibly recruiting men and boys, both within south/central Somalia (see Somalia chapter), and to a lesser extent, inside Somali refugee communities in Kenya.

Kenya | Human Rights Watch -Read more –

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