UNHCR Reminds about the Importance of respecting Kenyan Law

Any activists providing funding that has served to assist refugees to leave Kakuma Camp, need to be aware that they are aiding and abetting in the commission of crime that could subject the refugee to detrimental repercussions that negatively impact chances of resettlement. Refugees in host country Kenya are asked not to break the law.  It is evident from social media posts that some refugees may have left Kakuma camp without the requisite permitting.

Transporting out of the camp to Nairobi is an expensive endeavor, and if subsidized by misinformed donors in the USA, EU and other countries, may be the only way through closed COVID restricted roads – and if it is to pay a private driver and engage in bribery of police en route this too is a crime.

I am posting UNHCR’s statement dispelling any rumors that UNHCR were involved in the transfer of refugees from Kakuma to Nairobi this past week, a time when Kenya is being particularly cautious to avert the spread of the COVID-19 virus:


This statement is issued in response to recent false claims on social media that UNHCR was involved last week in transferring refugees from Kakuma refugee camp to Nairobi.

The encampment policy of the Government of Kenya dictates that all refugees and asylum-seekers on Kenyan territory must reside in one of the refugee camps established in Dadaab and Kakuma. In some instances, the Government of Kenya can grant an official waiver to refugees and asylum-seekers permitting them to reside in urban areas. Furthermore, on 6 June, the Government of Kenya extended movement restrictions in and out of the Nairobi Metropolitan Area by an additional 30 days. 0Therefore, movement between Kakuma and Nairobi and vice versa is currently not allowed.

As with anyone residing in Kenya, refugees and asylum-seekers are bound to respect the laws and regulations of their host country.

UNHCR discourages in the strongest possible terms refugees and asylum-seekers from attempting to leave the refugee camps for Nairobi or any other area in the country. Doing so at this time would be in direct violation of the Government of Kenya’s encampment policy and COVID-19 directives. It would also expose them to possible sanctions and would put their and other people’s health at risk.


By Melanie Nathan
Executive Director

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