Kenyan courtroom ‘quickly blocks’ closure of refugee camps

Case involving authorities plans to shut Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps to return within the courtroom in a month, experiences say.

Kenya’s excessive courtroom has quickly blocked the closure of two refugee camps internet hosting greater than 400,000 individuals, based on media experiences and activists.

On March 24, Kenyan Inside Minister Fred Matiang’i introduced the federal government’s intention to close the Dadaab and Kakuma camps, giving the United Nations refugee company (UNHCR) two weeks to current a plan to take action. The ministry known as this an “ultimatum” and mentioned there was no room for additional negotiations.

On Thursday, the courtroom stayed the closure for 30 days, based on a replica of the courtroom seen by information organisations. It originated from a petition filed by an area politician difficult a transfer to close down the camps.


In March, the UNHCR urged the federal government to make sure that those that want safety proceed to get it, and pledged to maintain participating in a dialogue.

“The choice would have an effect on the safety of refugees in Kenya, together with within the context of the continued COVID-19 pandemic,” the UNHCR mentioned in an announcement.


The Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps in northern Kenya collectively host greater than 410,000 individuals, primarily from Somalia but additionally from international locations akin to South Sudan and Ethiopia.

Citing nationwide safety issues, authorities in Nairobi first signalled their plans to close the Dadaab camp, which is nearer to the border with Somalia than Kakuma, again in 2016.

That plan was blocked by the excessive courtroom, which known as the transfer unconstitutional.

Kakuma, dwelling to greater than 190,000 refugees, is situated in Kenya’s northwest. Dadaab is in japanese Kenya, near the Somali border, however many Somalis have moved between the 2 camps.

Dadaab was established three many years in the past and was as soon as the world’s largest refugee camp, which at its peak hosted greater than half one million individuals fleeing violence and drought in Somalia.

Talking to Al Jazeera, residents in each camps have urged the Kenyan authorities to reverse its determination.

“It’s very terrifying as a result of we have no idea the following step, like the place are we going to go from right here,” David Omot, an Ethiopian who has lived in each Kakuma and Dadaab since 2005, mentioned of the closure order. “The place will we go? Again dwelling we nonetheless have some insecurity, there are nonetheless some issues that individuals are dealing with, particularly the youths.”

Austin Baboya, a South Sudanese 26-year-old based mostly in Kakuma, mentioned he has not recognized some other dwelling than a refugee camp.

“I don’t know if the [Kenyan] authorities have sat down and thought of the lives of individuals dwelling within the camp or they simply get up and make these selections,” Baboya mentioned, calling on UNHCR and worldwide donors to assist discover a resolution.

“Earlier than the camp was open very many individuals misplaced lives. Very many individuals fled their dwelling international locations … They’ve discovered a spot to name dwelling and I don’t assume a lot of them are keen to return.”

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