UN cautions Kenya against Closure of Daadab and Kakauma refugee camps
Kenya will go ahead with its plan to shutdown the Daadab and Kakuma refugee camps in a process that will begin from May 5.
Confirming the planned process, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi on Thursday, 29 April met United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi in Nairobi in to fasten the process.
According to Matiangi of the 200,000 refugees holed up in the Kakuma camp, those from East Africa have an option of going back home or getting a free work permit to reside and eke out a living in Kenya.
The government in March gave the UNHCR 14 days to have a road map on the definite closure of Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps.
CS Matiang’i then issued the directive to the UNHCR representative in Kenya Fathiaa Abdalla, saying there is no room for further negotiations.
However, Amnesty International Kenya welcomed the revised timeframe of the repatriation process noting that the rights of refugess were well considered after Matiang'i met the UNHCR boss.
“We trust the government and UN High Commissioner for Refugees shall work towards identifying more opportunities for resettlement or voluntarily repatriation of willing refugees.”
UNHCR and other rights lobby groups had warned of adverse effects if the Kenyan government goes ahead with the repatriation plan.
The UN raised concern over protection of refugee rights claiming that it would be difficult to protect the rights of refugess.
UNHCR further claimed that the closure of Daadab and Kakuma camps will have severe effects especially in the middle of a apandemic.
“The principle of non-refoulement guarantees that no one should be returned to a country where they would face torture or treatment,” UNHCR boss said in a statement.
By closing the two refugee camps, Kenya would be actualizing on threats it made in 2006. At that time, Kenya suffered from terror attacks it claimed were planned in the camps.