Kenya insists on Repatriating Somali Refugees from Dadaab Refugee Camp

Kenya's Deputy President, William Ruto

Kenya’s Deputy President, William Ruto

Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto on Monday re-affirmed the Kenyan government’s strong stance to close Dadaab refugee camp, the largest refugee camp complex in the world, hosting over 329000 refugees and repatriate the Somali refugees.

Kenya insists that Dadaab refugee camp harbours drug traffickers and terror merchants and while there has been evidence to pin the crimes on specific refugees, Kenyan police have previously found small weapons in the camp. The Kenyan government also says that it is also expensive to maintain the camp spending over Kshs1.2bn on policing the camp compared to the Kshs 300m it receives in donor support.

Last month the 590th meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council called for practical measures to accelerate the voluntary repatriation of Somali refugees in safety and dignity, to the liberated areas and safe locations inside Somalia.
Speaking in Turkey, where he led a high powered Kenyan delegation for the UN World Humanitarian Summit, Ruto said the government’s decision to close the camp is final.

“It is sad for people to suggest that Kenya uses its refugees to source for donor funds. Our stand remains, that due to security threats at the Dadaab camp and other illegal activities at the camp, we will repatriate the refugees,” said Ruto.

Dozens of aid groups and rights workers have urged Kenya to rescind its decision to close down the camp. The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights urged the government to avert a breach of the principle of non-refoulement, which protects asylum seekers and refugees from being returned to places where their lives and freedoms could be threatened.

Last week, Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta took the United Nations head-on, by telling UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon, of the country’s resolve not to rescind on its decision.

Ruto was in Turkey for a two-day meeting on the refugee crisis, which is also attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Turkish President Racep Tayyip Erdogan among other world leaders.