Kenyan Cabinet Secretary (Minister) for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Amina Mohammed says the decision to close down the Dadaab refugee camp in northeastern Kenya is final and that Kenya will not bow to international pressure over the move.
Describing the move to close the camp complex which houses more than 350,000 refugees from mainly Somalia was long overdue, she cited the increased terrorist activities as well as negative travel advisories as some of the key factors which led to the decision.
The government is calling for financial support to help the process of repatriating the refugees. Amina said here Thursday. The refugee camp, described as the world’s largest, has been in existence at the expense of national security, said Amina, who added that it had been infiltrated by members of the Al-Shabaab militants which carried out terrorist attacks orchestrated within the periphery of the camp.
She said the country could no longer put its international obligation at the expense of its national security and the safety of its people and noted that some African leaders as well as the Kenyan people had lauded the government’s bold move to close the camp, saying that the process has been in the pipeline for the last three years.
Meanwhile, United States Secretary of State John Kerry has expressed concern over the decision by the Kenyan government to close refugee camp complex and expedite the repatriation of thousands of refugees from Kenya.
Kerry urged Kenya to maintain its longstanding leadership role in protecting and sheltering victims of violence and trauma and not forcibly repatriate refugees.
In a statement, Kerry said: “We call on Kenya to continue its support for refugees and voluntary return efforts, and to continue to work with UNHCR and partner nations to find durable solutions that respect humanitarian standards and uphold international law.
“We also urge the Government of Kenya to honor its responsibilities, including the 2013 Tripartite Agreement on the voluntary repatriation of Somali refugees living in Kenya.”
Source: Nam News Network