We Must Continue To Protect The Rights of Refugees in the Wake of the Westgate Terrorist Attacks

64c82c11f9cf745ca6284788_650x235 CHICAGO (October 7, 2013) – To date, dozens of people have lost their lives at the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi in a terrorist attack that is shocking in its brutality. Heshima Kenya deeply mourns the lives that were lost and strongly condemns these senseless acts of violence. We believe Kenya can and will emerge a stronger and more united country in the midst of this horrific tragedy.

The Heshima Kenya community has been shaken by these acts of violence against innocent civilians, who include those close to our Heshima family. Every day, our staff works tirelessly to serve the most vulnerable of the world’s refugees – young girls fleeing devastating violence and persecution, often without the support of family or friends. Our primary consideration is for the safety and wellbeing of Kenya’s refugees and the refugee girls Heshima Kenya serves. These acts of terror and brutality have not changed our steadfast commitment to ensure the security and protection of the courageous women and girls in our care.

50% of the young women and girls currently in our programs in Nairobi are of Somali nationality, many of which were forced to flee Somalia because of the very violence perpetrated by Al-Shabab within their own communities. It is a terrible irony that they must once again live in fear. “We trust that the Kenyan Government and its people will continue to protect the rights of immigrants and refugees that have fled this horrific violence and persecution, and look forward to being a helpful part of this dialogue process,” says Heshima Kenya’s Executive Director Anne Sweeney. Meanwhile, we mourn together the hundreds of victims of this tragedy, and stand united across lines of culture, nationality and faith towards a world free of violence and terror.

Media Contacts Anne Sweeney  +1 (773) 574-5548/anne@heshimakenya.org

Alisa Roadcup +1 (720) 352 5504/alisa@heshimakenya.org