Curtains closing for Daadab Refugee Camp

Curtains closing for Daadab Refugee Camp

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Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. PHOTO: COURTESY.

Nairobi, KENYA: As the globe marked World Refugees Day on Monday, humanitarian agencies in Kenya seemed to warm up to the steps being taken by the country to close Daadab Refugee Camp.

The United Nations UN in Kenya reiterated that if repatriation was to take place, then the dignity of the refugees had to be maintained.

The Kenyan government said that Daadab camp which has been in existence for around 25 years was playing host to terrorists.

The Ministry of Interior stated that the WestGate and Garissa University attacks were traced back to the camp.

“This is a clear indication that this camp needs to come to a close. There are impostors said to hide weapons.People of Kenya have to be given priority and to ensure their safety. There have been security threats emanating from hosting refuges,’ said Cabinet Secretary for Interior Joseph Nkaissery in a statement read by Joseph Irungu, the Chairman for the National Multiagency Repatriation Team.

‘We acknowledge that we have an international obligation to protect refugees and asylum seekers within our borders after ratifying the 1951 UN Convention on the status of refugees. However the refugee status is not supposed to be a permanent phenomenon but just a temporary solution for asylum seekers,” he explained.

Irungu said that it was a worrying trend that the camp was open 25 years ago yet no lasting solution was found to ensure sustainable peace in Somalia.

‘I call upon the international community to bring their heads together to bring tranquil in Somalia,’ he continued.

Another worry brought forth by the UN was that most refugees were being hosted by developing nations.

“Almost 90% of the world’s refugees are hosted in developing countries. 8 countries host more than half of the refugees and Kenya is one of the countries that provide that hospitality and generosity,’”said Siddharth Chatterjee UN Resident Co-ordinator.

“Close to 60 million people have been displaced as a result of natural disasters, effects of climate change and conflict. This is the biggest human indignity to be ever witnessed. And as UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon would put it, is that this is not a crisis of numbers but it is a crisis of solidarity. Only 10 countries only offer 75% of the UN’s budget to resolve their plight, “he continued.

The American Embassy in Kenya has stated that the number of women, children and men being forcibly displaced and fleeing hostile situations in their countries has been increasing.

“This year it has climbed by over 5 million people. Tragically most of these are children. Humanitarian leadership is important as crisis after crisis unfolds to keep borders opening and flowing. This will help save millions of lives,” advised US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec.

Godec said that humanitarian systems are under great strain to sustain populations being displaced.

“Every year the needs outstrip the resources available. The amount of time refugees spend in exile can stretch to a month, a year and in many places including here in Kenya even a decade. At the same time America is expanding its own Resettlement Program to admit as many as 85,000 refugees this year from the target of 70,000 we have had in the last three years,” he continued.

According to the Refugee Consortium of Kenya top global destinations in the world for refugees are Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon, Iran, Ethiopia and Jordan while top sources are Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia.

In Africa top hosts are Ethiopia and Kenya with the latter housing almost 600,000 refugees and asylum seekers from different nationalities.