Celebrations for World Refugee Day 2016 officially began in Kenya's capital Nairobi as the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) held mass celebrations on 19 June.

World Refugee Day 2016 in Kenya
A South Sudanese refugee living in Nairobi dances with his country's flag during World Refugee Day celebrations in Kenya on 19 June 2016Elsa Buchanan for IBTimes UK
World Refugee Day 2016 in Kenya
A group of refugees dance outside a church in Kayole in Kenya's capital Nairobi on 19 June 2016Elsa Buchanan for IBTimes UK

In Nairobi's Divine Word Church, in Kayole, hundreds of people stood in solidarity with refugees and forced migrants to celebrate World Refugee Day, which has been marked on 20 June ever since 2000. In a world where violence forces hundreds of people to flee their countries each day, this special day commemorates the strength, bravery and resilience of millions of refugees.

World Refugee Day 2016 in Kenya
Hundreds attended JRS's mass celebrations for World Refugee Day on 19 JuneElsa Buchanan for IBTimes UK
World Refugee Day 2016 in Kenya
Dancers walk trough the aisle at Divine Word Church, in Kayole, Kenya on 19 JuneElsa Buchanan for IBTimes UK

Held in collaboration with the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), JRS − an international NGO that serves, accompanies and advocates on behalf of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons − marked the special day with dozens of refugees from South Sudan, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Somalia, Eritrea and Burundi.

World Refugee Day 2016 in Kenya
A refugee performs with a troupe on stageElsa Buchanan for IBTimes UK
World Refugee Day 2016 in Kenya
Crowds watch and cheer a dancer during World Refugee Day on 19 June 2016Elsa Buchanan for IBTimes UK

After walking through the church to the sound of drums and bells, dozens of refugees took delight in the audience clapping at once as they presented a programme of traditional dances and music.

World Refugee Day 2016 in Kenya
A dancer shuffles metal bottle caps attached to his feet during a traditional danceElsa Buchanan for IBTimes UK
World Refugee Day 2016 in Kenya
Children watch as a group performs on stage during World Refugee Day celebrations in Kayole in Nairobi, KenyaElsa Buchanan for IBTimes UK

While the recent Refugees Welcome Index by Amnesty Intentional has shown that 78% of Kenyans would welcome refugees into the country, the government has thrown doubt on its willingness to accept refugees.

World Refugee Day 2016 in Kenya
Dancers perform traditional music and dances during World Refugee Day celebrations in Kayole, Nairobi in KenyaElsa Buchanan for IBTimes UK
World Refugee Day 2016 in Kenya
A dancer performs on stage in Kayole, Nairobi on 19 JuneElsa Buchanan for IBTimes UK

World Refugee Day comes only weeks after Kenya's authorities announced plans to expel hundreds of thousands of refugees within six months, as well as the closing the world's largest refugee camp in Dadaab, after alleging it had become a hotbed for Islamist extremism.

World Refugee Day 2016 in Kenya
A group of refugees performs traditional dances during World Refugee Day celebrations in Nairobi, KenyaElsa Buchanan for IBTimes UK
World Refugee Day 2016 in Kenya
A little girl claps as she performs with other dancers at Divine Word Church, in Kayole, Nairobi on 19 June 2016Elsa Buchanan for IBTimes UK

Kenya, which hosts around 600,000 refugees fleeing conflict and food insecurity in Somalia, South Sudan, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Ethiopia, accused the international community of leaving the country to deal with so many refugees for so long. "The government of Kenya acknowledges that the decision will have adverse effects on the lives of refugees and therefore the international community must collectively take responsibility on humanitarian needs that will arise out of this action," Karanja Kibicho, the principal secretary in the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, said in a statement last month.

World Refugee Day 2016 in Kenya
Guests inside the church cheer on the refugees as they perform on stage on 19 June 2016Elsa Buchanan for IBTimes UK
World Refugee Day 2016 in Kenya
A brightly-dressed woman sings along with a group of refugees at the Divine Word Church in Kayole, NairobiElsa Buchanan for IBTimes UK

In these uncertain times, however, guests sang along, whistled and danced in unison with the groups on stage, and a decorated cake was presented to the refugee children during the celebration .

World Refugee Day 2016 in Kenya
A JRS worker looks at a cake that reads 'The UN Refugee Agency: Celebrating World Refugee Day'Elsa Buchanan for IBTimes UK
World Refugee Day 2016 in Kenya
A young boy smiles as he eats a piece of the cake during World Refugee Day on 19 June 2016Elsa Buchanan for IBTimes UK