Court nullifies gov’ts directive to repatriate refugees

Somali refugees
Somali refugees

The Court has nullified the Ministry of Interior and Coordination’s directive to repatriate refugees from Kenya saying that the refugees have not been in anyway linked to any terror act.

The High Court before Justice Isaac Lenaola ordered that the 48 children of refugees who had been taken back to their countries be paid Ksh 50,000 each as compensation for violation of their rights after they were inhumanly separated from their parents and guardians.

The compensation is limited to the families that moved to court only as the judge said he is not aware of status of families that had not come to court.

The judge also directed that the Interior CS Joseph Nkaissery ensures the children are reunited with their families.

In early November, the Kenyan government said it was working with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to ensure a smooth and voluntary repatriation of over 500,000 Somalia refugees living in Dadaab, Garissa County.

As of November, only 45,000 refugees had left the country voluntarily according to Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaiserry.

Records from the Interior Ministry show that at least 45,000 refugees have been repatriated in the last two years from the Dadaab refugee camp and more could soon be going back home under a new program that looks to repatriate at least 500,000 Somali refugees.

“We have spoken to the leaders and we are going to follow the law,” said Nkaissery in November.

Over the years, Somali refugees trickled into the country due to war and famine.

Their population here has grown to an estimated 350,000 people, more than half the population of the entire refugee community in Kenya.

UNHCR said it had identified 8 areas in Somalia, where most of the refugees came from, and where they will be hosted.

Although there are concerted efforts to make the repatriation process possible, new timelines have not been laid out.

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Maureen Murimi
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