Report decries closure of Kenya’s refugee camp

Sep 15, 2016, 4:25 AM EDT
Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya
(Source: European Commission DG ECHO/flickr)

According to a report by Human Rights Watch, Kenya’s decision to shut down the Dadaab refugee camp, forcing tens of thousands of Somali refugees to return home violates international standards for voluntary returns. The report says that the refugees, who have been in this camp for years, are leaving as they fear being deported later and forfeiting a $400 U.N. cash grant.

The watchdog has accused the U.N.'s refugee arm, the U.N.H.C.R., of not informing the refugees about security conditions in Somalia, thus endangering the lives of those who are making a journey back to their homes, reports the BBC. The organization says that according to the 1951 Refugee Convention, refugees cannot be pressured to return to a place where their lives or freedom is at risk.

Earlier this year, Kenya drew widespread criticism after it announced to lockdown the world’s largest refugee camp in Dadaab, citing economic, security and environmental reasons, writes EconoTimes. Analysts believe that Kenya’s move to repatriate refugees serves as a wake-up call for the international community that the country alone cannot shoulder the burden of hosting asylum seekers.