Dadaab camp closure extension is welcome
The Kenya government’s extension of the Dadaab refugee camp closure by six months from November 30 2016 to May 31 2017 should be commended.
It is a prudent move as it gives both the government and the UNHCR the time to think up and implement more reasonable and safer measures and procedures.
The government’s insistence that the camp is used by al Shabaab militants to plan attacks inside Kenya has been challenged by human rights groups, including global watchdog Amnesty International.
Amnesty spoke specifically of Somali refugees being bullied into returning to a war zone.
Announcing the extension, Interior CS Joseph Nkaissery said it gives the international community time to ensure refugees return to a safe place. This acknowledges the world is not merely watching but is a participant in stabilising Somalia and protecting its people.
The Kenya government should only ever repatriate a refugee with his or her full acknowledgement that it is safe to be returned home.