by MARIA MACHARIA
NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – OPPONENTS of the decision by Kenyan to close the world’s largest refugee centre are making last-ditch attempts to force a reversal as the deadline looms.
Today (Monday), the High Court in Nairobi will hear a petition filed by two civil society organizations who want the move to be declared unconstitutional.
Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and Kituo Cha Sheria have filed submissions on Kenya’s obligations under international law to ensure rights of asylum seekers and refugees.
More than 260 000 Somali refugees are resident at Dabaab refugee camp southeast of Kenya.
Kenya in May disbanded the department of refugee affairs, paving way for the closure of the camp on November 30.
There are allegations it is now a breeding ground for Al-Shabaab terrorists.
Michelle Kagari, deputy director of Amnesty International East Africa, said the closure was disastrous for the thousands of refugees, most with nowhere to go.
“Their repatriation back to Somalia is not voluntary – they are being forced to return when the conditions that forced them to flee in the first place have not improved.”
Somalia has suffered more than two decades of conflict. Fighting between government forces, supported by African Union troops, and militants has resulted in gross human rights violations and devastated basic services and infrastructure.
– CAJ News