HRW slams Kenya for camp shutdown

Human Rights Watch has called on the Kenyanon government not to turn its back on refugees

HRW slams Kenya for camp shutdown

World Bulletin / News Desk

Kenya’s decision to close its refugee camps came under fire from Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Saturday.

The decision to close the huge Kakuma and Dadaab camps in northern Kenya - home to around 600,000 mostly Somali and South Sudanese refugees - was announced by the government Friday.

“In a single breath, the Kenyan government recognizes that the Somalis it has been hosting for nearly 25 years are still refugees, but then states it’s finished with them,” Bill Frelick, HRW’s refugee rights program director, said in a statement on the group’s website.

“Kenya should not turn its back on people needing protection and on fundamental principles that it has pledged to respect.”

The government cited security and economic concerns as the reason for the decision. Fears that al-Shabaab terrorists have received support from inside the camps have been voiced in recent months.

“Despite the Kenyan government’s frequent statements that Somali refugees in Kenya are responsible for Kenya’s insecurity, officials have not provided credible evidence linking Somali refugees to any terrorist attacks in Kenya,” HRW’s statement added.

Frelick called for Kenya to respect international laws against returning refugees.

“The threat Al-Shabaab poses in Somalia and Kenya is real but that doesn’t negate Kenya’s obligation to abide by international refugee law,” he said.

“Rather than abandon people it still recognizes as refugees, the Kenyan government should appropriately prosecute those people who have committed crimes and maintain efforts to protect refugees according to international standards.”

Güncelleme Tarihi: 07 Mayıs 2016, 17:42