Jun 22, 2021

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Kenya’s decision to stagger closure of camps favours refugees’ welfare

Amnesty International has welcomed Kenya’s decision to postpone the return of refugees and camps closings until next year instead of closing them now.

The organization said the move would allow the authorities allow people to work

“Neither permanent refugee camps, hasty camp closings, nor violations of international non-refoulement policies are solutions,” said Irungu Houghton, executive director of Amnesty International Kenya statement.

in March announced that Kenya would close the camps as they posed a security problem. The country then ordered the UNHCR to relocate the refugees over the next two weeks.

UNHCR chief Fillipo Grandi then held talks with Kenyan Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and Foreign Affairs colleague Raychelle Omamo.

According to the new deadlines, at least 15,000 refugees are released every month. either to return to their homes or to be relocated.

The Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps will be closed until June next year.

A joint team of government officials and UNHCR will be formed to help them Facilitate return. Options include returning to their home countries, relocation to third countries, and obtaining work permits or other documents that will allow them to leave the refugee centers. “We take it seriously to complete the repatriation program that we started in 2016, taking into account our international obligations and our national responsibility. We are therefore reaffirming our previous position to close the Dadaab and Kakuma camps by June 30, 2022, “said Matiang’i.

This is the fifth time the country has delayed its plan to close the camps . In 2013, Kenya, Somalia and the UNHCR reached an agreement to gradually close Dadaab. The agreement expired and only a few refugees agreed to return voluntarily. On Tuesday, the High Court suspended the latest plan as discussions continued over a staggered closure. The US government also said Kenya could violate its commitments if it abruptly shut down the camps.

“I believe the government and the people of Kenya will continue to show their generous hospitality to refugees, as they almost did for three decades, we have been discussing a strategy to find the most permanent, appropriate and rights-based solutions for refugees and asylum seekers living in the refugee camps in Dadaab and Kakuma, ”Grandi told The Two Refugee Camps in the Turkana and Garissa counties have existed since the early 1990s.

When Somalia fell under warlords and the neighboring countries Sudan, Rwanda and Burundi were in their conflicts.

Other refugees and asylum seekers in both camps come from South Sudan (127,412), the Democratic Republic of Congo (46,024), Ethiopia (29,718) and Burundi (17,286), Rwanda (1,917), Eritrea (1,955), Uganda (2,739), Sudan (10,199) and 945 from other countries.

It has been alleged that the camps, especially Dadaab, were considered Radicalization was used in the Al Shabaab youth center, which was used in return for attacks across the country that resulted in death and property destruction.

Kenya has also complained about the proliferation of illegal weapons, which has created uncertainty within, around the camp and across the country.

“The camp is by nature a humanitarian aid center, but due to illegal activities such as smuggling illegal weapons and contraband, it has a humanitarian character of the camp lost which endangered the lives of real refugees and Kenyans in and around the camp ”, states the refugee secretariat in Kenya.