NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – AS the announced closure of the world’s largest refugee camp draws closer, a majority of refugees fear returning to Somalia where they will be exposed to recruitment into armed groups, sexual violence and the non-availability of healthcare.
The fear comes amid the imminent closure of the Dabaab centre, which houses over 300 000 refugees, mostly Somalis that have fled conflict in their home country.
Kenya is closing the refugee camp arguing it had become a breeding ground for Al –Shabaab terrorists carrying out attacks in the East African country.
Surveys by medical groups indicate more than 80 percent of refugees fear returning to Somalia, while a considerable number of the population were born at the centre and have no links back in Somalia.
“It is clear that refugee camps are not the best way to manage a protracted 25-year crisis but closing them now without offering other durable solutions pushes them back to a conflict zone, where medical care is dangerously absent,” says Bruno Jochum, Doctors Without Borders General Director.
He said the decision was a blight on refugee protection globally, where there is failure to provide safe havens for people in danger.
The United Nations recently declared 5 million were at risk of hunger inside Somalia.
“Sending back even more people to suffer is both inhumane and irresponsible,” said Jochum.
At some camps making up Dabaab, children have been arriving in Somalia having not been vaccinated against preventable diseases.
It is feared pregnant women and people with chronic medical conditions will lack access to healthcare in Somalia.
At a camp, 70 percent of MSF’s mental health patients are on medication.
– CAJ News