Kenya: children and pregnant women reported among 300 South Sudanese denied asylum at border
17 June 2016

Randa, a 24-year-old asylum seeker from South Sudan, tries to cross the border into Kenya as she seeks refuge after fleeing insecurity in her country (Elsa Buchanan/International Business Times)
All his family is in Kakuma (located around 50km from the border), and he was trying to cross the border alone into Kenya through the bush.

Kakuma, 17 June 2016 – The Jesuit Refugee Service is extremely concerned by this International Business Times report that hundreds of South Sudanese have been denied entrance into Kenya as asylum seekers and calls for immediate protection for new arrivals.

It was the civil war in South Sudan that separated Randa from her family in 2013. While the 24-year-old stayed in the South Sudanese capital Juba during the fighting, her mother and six brothers and sisters sought asylum in neighbouring Kenya's second largest refugee camp, Kakuma, in 2014. Now, the young woman, who had no one left in South Sudan, decided to join her family.

With only a bag and a suitcase, she used the little money she had to pay for transport to reach the South Sudan-Kenya border, located two hours' drive from Kakuma on dusty roads. Assuming the Nadapal border – the only point of entry from South Sudan into Kenya – was open and officials would allow her free access to seek asylum, Randa arrived on Wednesday 15 June in the early hours.

After the disbanding of Kenya's Department of Refugee Affairs (DRA), there was a creation of a new entity – refugee Affairs Secretariat (RAS) – which filled the gap left by DRA. However, little did she know that the RAS may have issued an order from the Kenyan government to the immigration officers in the country's side of Nadapal.

IBTimes UK visited the border after UN's refugee agency (UNHCR) officials made the claim that Kenyan immigration was denying access to asylum seekers on the territory – which is against international law.

Speaking to IBTimes UK, one of the agency heads of sub-office in Kakuma said there were "concerns about an issue with asylum seekers reported at Nadapal". Kakuma is home to around 190,000 refugees.

According to the official, around 300 Sudanese fleeing instability, armed militias, drought and food insecurity arrive at Nadapal every week. That's 1,200 a month on average, most of them coming from Sudan's Eastern Equatorial province.

Read more on the International Business Times website here.

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