CLOSURE

Kenya to close Kakuma, Dadaab camps by the end of June 2022

Repatriation of refugees to countries of origin is part of the plans that Kenya has set.

In Summary

• This comes despite the High Court order suspending the directive by the government to close the camps.

• The UN Refugee Agency had earlier said that it wants enhanced voluntary repatriation in safety and dignity.

Interior CS Fred Matiang'i and Foreign Affairs counterpart Raychelle Omamo during the presentation of plans to close the refugee camps.
Interior CS Fred Matiang'i and Foreign Affairs counterpart Raychelle Omamo during the presentation of plans to close the refugee camps.
Image: INTERIOR MINISTRY

The government of Kenya has indicated its move to close the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps by the end of June 2022.

On Thursday, the country made its formal communication regarding the closure of the camps to the UN Refugee Agency.

The Interior CS Fred Matiang’i said that repatriation of refugees to countries of origin and socioeconomic integration of some of them through Work/Residence Permits is among the roadmap that the government will undertake to ensure that the mission is successful.

The CS was accompanied by his Foreign Affairs counterpart Raychelle Omamo.

This comes following the UNHCR plan of action in line with Kenya's request, detailing a roadmap to the closure of Dadaab and Kakuma Refugee Camps.

The UN Refugee Agency had earlier said that it wants enhanced voluntary repatriation in safety and dignity.

The agency also wants the provision of alternative-stay arrangements to refugees from the East African Community (EAC).

"This would represent a major opportunity for refugees to become self-reliant and contribute to the local economy," UNHCR’s Representative in Kenya Fathiaa Abdalla had said.

They also want an acceleration of the issuing of national ID cards to over 11,000 Kenyans who have previously been identified as registered in the refugee database, and continuation of the vetting process for others in similar circumstances.

Among the proposals is resettlement to third countries. This is for a small number of refugees who are not able to return home and face protection risks.

The move comes despite the High Court order suspending the directive by the government to close the camps.

Justice Antony Mrima issued temporary orders on April 8, staying the application and enforcement of the directive to close the Daadab and Kakuma refugee camps.

In the case, former presidential aspirant Peter Gichira argued that the directive on the closure of the camps is illegal and violates international law and treaties on the protection of refugee rights.

On March 23, Kenya told UNHCR to announce a plan for the closure of the Dadaab and Kakuma refugees' camp within two weeks.

Reacting to the move to close the camps, Amnesty International Kenya said the ultimatum has recreated the fear that the principle of non-refoulment may be violated for the 500,000 refugees currently hosted by Kenya.

The agency said there is no evidence of an escalated security risk arising from the camps in April 2021.