Human Rights Watch released today a disturbing report documenting serious maltreatment, abuse and torture of Somali refugees and asylum seekers by Kenyan police in Nairobi. The report, entitled '"You are all Terrorists:" Kenyan Police Abuse of Refugees in Nairobi' draws on 101 interviews with Somalis and Kenyans of Somali background. Here's an extract of the summary:

"On November 19, 2012, Kenyan police from four different units unleashed a wave of abuses, including torture, against Somali and Ethiopian refugees and asylum seekers and Somali Kenyans in Eastleigh, a predominantly Somali suburb of Nairobi only a few kilometers from the city’s business district, foreign embassies, United Nations headquarters, and tourist hotels.

The sudden escalation of police abuses came one day after unknown perpetrators attacked a bus in Eastleigh killing seven people and injuring 30. The abuses ended in late January, a few days after the Kenyan High Court ordered the authorities to halt a proposed plan to relocate all urban refugees to refugee camps.

This report, based on 101 interviews, documents abuses during this period in Eastleigh that directly affected around one thousand people. Witnesses and victims of abuse told Human Rights Watch that police personnel from the General Services Unit (GSU), the Regular Police (RP), the Administration Police (AP), and the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) committed the abuses, which included rape, beatings and kicking, theft, extortion, and arbitrary detention in inhuman and degrading conditions. Many women and children were among the victims. Police officers also arrested and charged hundreds of Eastleigh residents with public order offenses without any evidence, before the courts ordered their release."   Click here to access the full report.

Kenyan authorities have not yet commented on the report nor responded to its findings in any way. The abuses documented contravene Article 1 of the United Nations Convention against Torture, to which Kenya is a signatory. HRW is urging UNHCR to respond to these abuses and is urging donor countries to not support any of the police bodies involved in the abuse.  Click here to read more on responses to the report.