High Court stops closure of Refugee camps

by Lawyer Wanz

Kenyan government has been temporarily stopped from closing the Daadab and Kakuma refuge camps by the High Court.

Former presidential aspirant Peter Gichira moved to court challenging the government decision to close the two camps arguing that the move is unconstitutional.

Gichira argues that the directive on closure of the two camps violates the Constitution of Kenya, International Laws and treaties regarding protection of refugee rights and is therefore null and void.

He is seeking an order to permanently stop the enforcement of the directive. The matter will be mentioned on April 13, 2021.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i on March 24, 2021 issued the  United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) with a 14-day ultimatum on closure of Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps.

Dr. Matiang’i told the UN refugee agency that there is no room for further negotiations. This came as the second attempt by the Kenyan Government to have the camps closed and refugees repatriated.

The population of refugees in Daadab and Kakuma camps is estimated to be 217,000 and 190,000 respectively.

The UN refugee agency later urged the Kenyan Government to ensure that any decisions on the camps allow for suitable and sustainable solutions to be found.

Responding to the directive by CS Matiang’i, the agency called for consideration of those who live in the camps for need of protection.
The decision would have an impact on the protection of refugees in Kenya, including in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue our dialogue with the Kenyan authorities on this issue,” read the statement

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