Kenya to Close Refugee Camps

All major global Human Rights groups have been condemning Kenya over their closure of the two biggest refugee camps in the country due to lack of security and economic challenges. Permanent Secretary of Interior Secretary Karanja Kibicho said the world must take collective responsibility for all humanitarian needs as they arise.

The government of Kenya has officially relieved the Department of Refugee Affairs of its duties. The department was a liaison between humanitarian organizations and the refugees coming in. The current repatriation agreement signed amongst the United Nations High Commission for refugees, the Government of Somalia and the Government of Kenya in 2013, has been very slow towards any realistic implementations. Kibicho said Kenya has been hosting refugees from war-torn African nations for past 25 years now but has now run out of stream and resources, while the cost has taken a toll on the country. The two camps being closed are of Kakuma and Daadab. Kakuma camp currently hosts roughly 190,000 refugees, the majority being of South Sudan, who fled the ongoing civil war. Dadaab hosts most of the refugees and is the largest in Kenya, with 328,000 refugees, the majority being Somalians who fled the atrocities of Al-Shabab insurgents. Kibicho said that Al-Shabab has used these camps as a breeding ground for terrorists and vows to attack Kenya for sending forces into Somalia.

Nevertheless, it is not the first time that Kenya has been threatening the international community to return refugees back to their countries. Although there have not been any credible sources over the links between Somalian refugees and Al-Shabab insurgents, Kenya fears that it may in future become one of the most important hub to train and select insurgents to attack Kenya. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch termed the move as reckless and without any base, as refugees may still be in danger if they are returned. Muthoni Wanyeki, the regional head of Amnesty said the forced return of refugees may open them to persecution and conflict is not an option to return to.

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