NAIROBI – A group of refugees held a demonstration outside United Nations High Commission for Refugees offices in Westlands, Kenya on Easter Monday after one of their colleagues committed suicide over hunger.
Aneste Mweru, 28, used a white scarf to hang himself on a tree on Waiyaki way.
Refugees who were with Mweru in the morning said he had complained of hunger before proceeding to ask for food donations outside the UNHCR offices.
Since Easter Monday is a public holiday most UNHCR officers were out on holiday enjoying life with their loved ones during this lock down period.
He was ordered by security guards but he refused to relent until he was roughed up.
The refugees said he crawled to the nearest tree, climbed it and hanged himself.
Kilimani Sub-County Police Commander Lucas Ogara said investigations are underway to ascertain the circumstances that led to the death of the refugee.
Amid the lockdown over coronavirus, several refugees in Kenya have complained of being abandoned by government.
However, the Kenya government ordered the refugees to go to camps where they could be assisted.
UNHCR regretted the death in the following statement.
“We, at UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, are profoundly shocked and saddened by the tragic death and apparent suicide of a refugee today in Nairobi.
Our thoughts and condolences are with his family and friends. We ask everyone to kindly respect his dignity and the dignity and privacy of his family, and to desist from circulating pictures of the deceased.
The deceased person, a Ugandan national was recognized as a refugee by the Government of Kenya.
We are in close contact with the Kenyan police, who have launched an investigation to clarify the circumstances surrounding his death.
UNHCR is also in regular contact with the refugee community and relevant authorities to ensure that any required support is provided and to prevent the spread of misinformation.
UNHCR is concerned about the growing challenges faced by refugees and asylum-seekers as well as communities hosting them, in meeting their basic needs in the current difficult context.
UNHCR will continue to do its utmost to deliver critical protection and assistance to the nearly 500,000 refugees and asylum-seekers living in Kenya, especially during these challenging times.”