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Kenyan courts ‘temporarily block’ the closure of refugee camps | Human Rights News

Reports say the case involves the government planning to close the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps to return to the courtroom for a month.

Kenya’s high court temporarily prevented the closure of two refugee camps with more than 400,000 people, media and activists reported.

On March 24, Kenyan Interior Minister Fred Matiang’i announced the government’s intention to do so to close camp Dadaab and Kakuma, to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) two weeks to present the implementation plan. The department calls this an “ultimatum” and says there is no room for further negotiations.

On Thursday, the court was closed for 30 days, according to a court copy seen by news organizations. It stems from a petition by a local politician challenging the move to close the camps.

In March, the UNHCR urged the government to ensure that those in need of protection continue to receive it and pledged to continue engaging in a dialogue.

“The decision will have an impact on the protection of refugees in Kenya, including amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” UNHCR said in a statement.


The Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps in northern Kenya have more than 410,000 people, mostly from Somalia but possibly from countries like South Sudan and Ethiopia.

Citing national security concerns, authorities in Nairobi first signaled a plan to close the Dadaab camp, closer to the border with Somalia than Kakuma, in 2016.

That plan has been blocked by the supreme court, which calls the move unconstitutional.

Kakuma, home to more than 190,000 refugees, is located in the northwestern part of Kenya. Dadaab is located in eastern Kenya, close to the Somali border, but many Somalis have moved between the two sides.

Dadaab was established three decades ago and used to be the largest refugee camp in the world, at its peak, it welcomed more than half a million people fleeing violence and drought in Somalia.

Talk to Al Jazeera, residents in both camps have it urge Kenyan government to reverse its decision.

David Omot, an Ethiopian, who has lived in both Kakuma and Dadaab since 2005, said: “It was horrifying because we didn’t know the next step, like where we were going from here. “Where are we going? We still have some uncertainties back home, there are still some problems facing people, especially young people.”

Austin Baboya, a 26-year-old South Sudanese living in Kakuma, said he did not know any other home but a refugee camp.

“I don’t know if [Kenyan] The government sat down and looked at the lives of the people living in the camp or if they just woke up and made those decisions, ”Baboya said, calling on UNHCR and international donors to help find a solution. .

“Before the camp opened, many people lost their lives. A lot of people have fled their country… They found a place to call home and I don’t think many of them are willing to go back. ”



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