“NRC welcomes the ruling of the High Court as the process for returning Somali refugees to their home country should be voluntary,” said Neil Turner, Norwegian Refugee Council’s country director in Kenya.
Thursday 9 February, Justice John Mativo said it was wrong to issue a blanket condemnation punishing all refugees back, writes The Star.
If this ruling is confirmed, implemented and stops the planned camp closure, it will remove the uncertainty currently faced by thousands of refugees, and they will be able to make an informed choice about joining the Voluntary Return Programme or repatriating spontaneously.
“Today, there is an urgent need for Dadaab to remain open, as the current drought and food crisis is devastating parts of Somalia and the prospects for a safe return of Somali refugees from Kenya is drastically diminished,” said Turner.
NRC is working in Dadaab to provide accurate and up to date information to the refugees about their chosen area of returns, and assisting them in making their decisions about whether to return, or remain.
See here for more information about NRC’s work in Kenya.
- Kenya is generously housing close to half a million refugees and asylum seekers.
- Of these, about 325,000 are refugees from Somalia and 87,000 are refugees from South Sudan.
- 272,764 are living in Dadaab and Alinjugur camps, known as the world’s largest refugee camp.