October 18th 2017

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State-led human rights commission opposes closure of Kakuma

The state-funded Kenya National Commission on Human Rights has moved to court to challenge the government’s decision to close down the Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps.

By Free Press Reporternewsdesk@kenyafreepress.comTuesday, 07 Jun 2016 10:07 EAT

The state-funded Kenya National Commission on Human Rights has moved to court to challenge the government’s decision to close down the Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps.

The commission also says that the disbandment of Department of Refugee Affairs by the government is illegal and has far-reaching effects on the rights and fundamental freedoms of thousands of refugees and asylum seekers.

The department in the ministry of interior processed applications from refugees and asylum seekers.

The commission’s CEO Patricia Nyaundi argues in the suit papers that closure of Dadaab Refugee Camp will occasion danger and persecution to refugees and asylum seekers if they are forcibly repatriated without a proper assessment of their security concerns

The suit filed by lawyer Solomon Wasia says the decision to disband DRA ignored the needs of refugees and asylum seekers whose identification documents have expired or are about to expire, and who would have nowhere to renew their expired documents.

It also says, “New arrivals who need to register and seek asylum will have nowhere to go to register their intention to seek protection,” reads part of the court document.

KNCHR says that the Department of Refugee Affairs can only be disbanded through a legislative process and not executive direction as happened.

 “The purported disbandment of the DRA by way of a statement is arbitrary as it was not preceded by any known public discussion and further it is ultra vires the powers of the Minister,” the suit says.

Kenya currently hosts around 550,000 refugees, most of them from Somalia but with significant numbers from South Sudan as well. 

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