Please see below statement from Refugees International Senior Advocate for Women and Girls Devon Cone:
“Yesterday, Kenya ordered the closure of the Dadaab and Kakuma camps. It also gave UNHCR two weeks to figure out how to responsibly shut down two of the world’s largest refugee camps. The Kenyan government has threatened to forcibly return refugees to unsafe countries if UNHCR fails to meet its demands. These orders are reckless and cruel.
Any move to abruptly close the camps could uproot almost half a million people and send them to countries that are clearly unsafe, most notably Somalia. Many of these refugees were born in the camps and know no other home. Forcing them to leave Kenya in this manner would be a clear violation of international law.
Kenya has provided refuge to millions fleeing violence in neighboring countries for decades. The international community can and must do more to support Kenya to find sustainable solutions for these refugees. However, giving UNHCR a two-week ultimatum to close the camps is a recipe for chaos and disaster.”
For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Refugees International Director of Communications Sarah Sheffer at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 202 540 7029.
Photo Caption: Newly arrived Somalian refugees settle on the edge of the Dagahaley refugee camp which makes up part of the Dadaab refugee settlement on July 21, 2011 in Dadaab, Kenya. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)