Kenya to Close All Refugee Camps


TheStarThe Government is determined to close down all the refugee camps in the country in the next two years, the National Assembly heard yesterday.

Administration and National Security committee chairman Asman Kamama told the House that the camps will be closed once all the refugees return to their respective countries. He however, said that the speed of repatriating the refugees will be dependent on the stability of the Somali Government.

“The refugee camps will be closed as soon as the refugees return home. We are alive to the safety and care of the people in the camps and we will only facilitate their return if where they are headed is safe,” Kamama said in response to a question by Saboti MP David Wafula.

Wafula had expressed concerns with the free flow of refugees that had exposed the country to security threats from terrorist groups such as Al Shabaab.

Kenya being a signatory to the various international instruments on refugees has been hosting and protecting refugees fleeing persecution in their countries of origin.”

Kamama said that as of September 30th this year, Kenya was host to a total of 592 219 refugees. Out of the refugees, 476 635, representing 80 percent are Somalis. The two major refugee camps in the country- Dadaab and Kakuma hosts 405 477 and 125,803 respectively.

Those from Ethiopia are 31, 693 and 7184 are in Kakuma, 8491 in Nairobi, 248 in Isiolo and 8 in Mombasa. 7843 are from Sudan, 1097 from Congo, 1719 from Rwanda, 1803 from Eriteria, 5092 from Burundi, 48 010 from South Sudan, 1180 from Ugunda while 266 are from various other countries.

Kamama said that in order to ensure that there is proper coordination and administration of the refugees, the government had posted administrators to manage and coordinate provision of humanitarian services to refugees.

He said that despite the measures being put in place, the camps have been faced with challenges including insecurity, environmental degradation, and urban refugees.

The statement by Kamama comes barely a month after Kenya, Somalia United Nations High Commission for Refugees signed a tripartite agreement that paved the way for the repatriation refugees to Somalia.