By Tom Rhodes/CPJ East Africa Representative
Nairobi, May 12, 2014-Today, CPJ partnered with Reporters Without Borders and Rory Peck Trust in a joint open letter calling on Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary of Interior, Joseph Ole Lenku, to provide clarity on the government’s refugee policy and to exempt journalists from forced relocation to the refugee camps. On March 25, Lenku ordered all urban refugees to relocate to one of two refugee camps in a bid to tighten security amid continuing violence, including an attack on a church in Mombasa. His order came despite the fact that a similar government directive in 2012 was ruled unconstitutional by the High Court.
Collective research by our three organizations shows that exiled Somali and Ethiopian journalists are not safe in Kenya’s refugee camps, where Ethiopian security agents and Somalia’s Al-Shabaab militants operate-the very same threats that most such journalists fled in the first place. Meanwhile, life for refugee journalists in Nairobi has been made even harder than usual. Kenyan police conduct nightly raids on the homes of Somali refugees, demanding bribes to avoid forceful relocation to the camps, local journalists say.