UNHCR proposes solutions for refugees residing in Kenyan camps

Fathiaa Abdalla, the UNHCR Representative, Kenya.
Fathiaa Abdalla, the UNHCR Representative, Kenya during a virtual meeting on March 19, 2021. PHOTO | COURTESY

In Summary

  • On April 9, 2021, the High Court temporarily stopped the Kenyan government from closing the Daadab and Kakuma refuge camps.
  • One Peter Gichira moved to court challenging the government decision to close the two camps arguing that the move is unconstitutional.
  • Gichira argues that the directive on closure of the two camps violates the Constitution of Kenya, international laws and treaties.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has presented the Kenyan government with a proposed set of measures aimed at identifying solutions for refugees living in the Dadaab and Kakuma camps.

Also Read: High Court temporarily stops Gov’t from closing Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps

In a statement, UNHCR said it recognizes the tremendous generosity that Kenya has demonstrated towards refugees for many decades and the need to resolve situations of longstanding displacement.

“We have heard the concerns expressed by the Government of Kenya and hope that these measures will be a significant step forward in accelerating sustainable solutions for all those concerned,” said Fathiaa Abdalla, UNHCR’s Representative in Kenya.

The Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps host 430,000 refugees and asylum-seekers of more than 15 nationalities.

UNHCR said its plan, in support of the Government of Kenya, includes:

  • Enhanced voluntary repatriation in safety and dignity, while taking into account the movement restrictions related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Provision of alternative-stay arrangements to refugees from the East African Community (EAC). This would represent a major opportunity for refugees to become self-reliant and contribute to the local economy.
  • Acceleration of the issuing of national ID cards to over 11,000 Kenyans who have previously been identified as registered in the refugee database, and continuation of the vetting process for others in similar circumstances.
  • Resettlement to third countries for a small number of refugees who are not able to return home and face protection risks.

“We believe that through joint renewed actions we can put in place measures that respect refugee rights and lead to sustainable solutions. We look forward to continuing our dialogue and collaboration with the Kenyan authorities and partners on this important matter,” said the UNHCR official.

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