Kenya's quest to shut Dadaab camp quashed, Amnesty International terms move "good news"

Lobby groups had contested the move in court arguing the government flawed International Laws. The government set to issue statement.

 

The deadline for the closure of the North Eastern based Dadaab camp had been extended until May this year, but a High Court judge Justice John Mativo ruled in Nairobi that the decision amounted to an act of group persecution, terming it illegal.

Last year, the Kenyan government had argued that the camp, majorly composed of Somalia residents who fled civil war in Mogadishu, was posing a security threat to Kenyans.

Kenya’s Internal Affairs Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery, had last year in press briefing, and argued that the attacks on its soil by the Somalia-based al-Shabab group “had been planned in the camp.”

In the ruling Justice Mativo protested what he termed a discriminatory move by Kenya against her neighboring and war riddled Somalia.

“A declaration that the decision of the government of Kenya to collectively repatriate all refugees in Dadaab Refugee Complex to the frontiers of their country of origin against their will violate the principle on international convention as expressed in Article 33 of the 1951 UN Refugee Conventions relating to the status of refugees as well as Section 18 of the Refugee Act 2006,” reads part of the ruling.

Earlier in the lawsuit filed, non-governmental lobby groups, Kituo Cha Sheria (Swahili for Centre of Law), Legal Advice Centre and Amnesty International sued Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery seeking to immediately stop the directive earlier issued to indefinitely close the camp.

Amnesty International has termed the ruling as a good news for the refugees.

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and lobby group Kituo Cha Sheria had contested the decision in court, saying it was discriminative and contrary to international law.

The emergence of the Dadaab camp was fueled by warfare in the neighboring Somali, in the early 90s when the Islamic militant group Al Shabaab staged a coup to overturn the government.

The camp has is currently housing over 500,000 refugees, majorly drawn from neighboring Somalia.

Most refugees, however, argued that they were born in Kenya for over the last 20 years, bringing a new twist on whether they should be given Kenyan citizenship.

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