Nairobi: Nearly 600,000 refugees at risk after Kenya decides to close refugee camps

dhadhaabThe Kenyan government has decided to close refugee camps, putting nearly 600,000 refugees at risk. World Help, a non-profit U.S. based Christian humanitarian agency, calls for an international intervention.

“It was with great surprise and concern that we learned of Kenya’s decision to close its refugee camps, and in turn, to provide an unsure future to over 600,000 refugees, many of which are from war torn countries, like Somalia,” Vernon Brewer said in a statement as quoted by CBN News. Brewer is the founding president of the Virginia-based World Help.
The closing down of refugee camps has been done in the past for political advantage during elections but this time authorities have followed through by closing the Department of Refugee Affairs. A task force was even formed to take into action the closing of the camp in Dadaab.

It has been reported by the Guardian that 330,000 refugees in Dadaab will be sent back to Somalia by the Interior Ministry of Kenya due to the camp being harbored by terrorists.

The government claims that the Somalia-based terror group al-Shabaab is using the camps for terror attacks.

“So far, not a single Somalia refugee has been charged with or convicted of any such offense. In the case of the attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, and the Garissa attack in northeast Kenya last year, Somali nationals have been charged with those offenses, but they are known to have come in directly from Somalia, and were not registered refugees,” Gerry Simpson said, with regard to the claims of the government. Simpson is a Human Rights Watch senior refugee researcher.

“The world has to awaken to the fact that we now have more refugees than any time in history, and that these vulnerable people, especially women and children, are the responsibility of us all,” Simpson continued.

In addition, other human rights groups have also decried this decision by the Kenyan government.

“This reckless decision by the Kenyan government is an abdication of its duty to protect the vulnerable and will put thousands of lives at risk … It could lead to the involuntary return of thousands of refugees to Somalia and other countries of origin, where their lives may still be in danger. This would be in violation of Kenya’s obligations under international law,” Muthoni Wanyeki told the Independent. Wanyeki is Amnesty International’s regional director in East Africa.

Source: Christian Daily

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