20. November 2016 · Kommentare deaktiviert für Kenya postpones planned closure of Dadaab refugee camp · Kategorien: Hintergrund, Sahara

Quelle: The Guardian | 16.11.16

Government bows to international pressure and agrees to six-month delay in shutting the world’s largest refugee complex, home to 300,000 Somalis

Kenya’s government said on Wednesday it had agreed to delay the closure of a Somali refugee camp that it sees as a security risk, after international pressure to give residents more time to find new homes.

Nairobi had vowed to shut Dadaab camp this month, saying it was being used by Islamist militants from neighbouring Somalia who have launched a string of attacks on Kenyan soil.

But rights groups criticised the decision over the camp, saying it would hurt Somalis fleeing violence and poverty, and accused Nairobi of forcibly sending people back to a war zone. The government dismisses that allegation.

“The government has accepted the request to extend the deadline for the completion of repatriation of Somali refugees, and this is essential to the closure of the Dadaab refugee complex, [in] six months,” said interior minister Joseph Ole Nkaissery.

“However, the ongoing voluntary repatriation will continue uninterrupted,” he said.

This week, a ministry official had said that the November deadline would be missed, although he did not give a new timetable. He also dismissed accusations from Amnesty International and others about forcible repatriations.

The official said the camp was now home to about 250,000 people, while UN officials had put the figure at about 350,000 at the start of the year.

More than half a million people lived there a few years ago.

“Kenya should end its threats to close the Dadaab camps,” said Gerry Simpson, senior refugee researcher for New York-based Human Rights Watch.

“The UN refugee agency and donors should press Kenya to publicly reassure Somalia’s refugees they are welcome in Kenya until it safe for them to return,” he added.

Somalia’s western-backed government is battling an Islamist insurgency as it oversees a fragile reconstruction effort after decades of conflict. Swathes of the country do not have basic services.

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