Kenya faces legal action over Dadaab closure

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, June 7, 2016
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News
Comments Off on Kenya faces legal action over Dadaab closure

The Kenyan government’s plan to close the world’s largest refugee camp violates international law and is unconstitutional, a Kenyan rights watchdog said Monday, asking a court to intervene.

Nairobi vowed last month to shut down the sprawling Dadaab camp on the Kenya-Somalia border, home to about 350 000 people, on national security grounds.

The vast majority of the camp’s residents are refugees who have fled the more than two-decade long conflict in Somalia.

The government plans to return the refugees to their homeland or third countries by November, in a move that has been widely condemned by humanitarian organisations.

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), calling for an “extremely urgent” court hearing, said the closure would endanger refugees “if they are forcibly returned without proper assessment of the security concerns”.

Sending refugees home against their will would violate Kenya’s constitution as well as the UN’s Refugee Convention and the Organisation of Africa Unity Convention on refugees, the group said, calling the plan “arbitrary” and “discriminatory”.

The state-funded KNCHR urged the government to suspend the decision to repatriate Somali refugees and to reverse a decision to disband Kenya’s Department of Refugee Affairs.

It said disbanding the department would leave refugees with no administrative authority to examine their demands for refugee status.

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