The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has pleaded with the Kenya government to ensure that any decisions on the Daadab and Kakuma refugee camps allow for suitable and sustainable solutions to be found.
In response to a 14-day ultimatum issued by Interior CS Fred Matiang’i on Wednesday, the UN refugee agency called for consideration of those who live in the camps for the need of protection.
“The decision would have an impact on the protection of refugees in Kenya, including in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue our dialogue with the Kenyan authorities on this issue,” a statement reads.
At the same time, the UNHCR expressed its gratitude to Kenyans for ‘generously hosting refugees and asylum-seekers for several decades’ saying it recognises the impact this has had.
“UNHCR stands ready to support the Government of Kenya in continuing and further strengthening the work that is ongoing to find solutions that are orderly, sustainable and respect refugee rights,” the agency added.
While issuing a two-week ultimatum to the refugee agency to close the two camps, CS Matiang’i said there is no room for further negotiations.
He cited terror threats planned from Dadaab and Kakuma refugees camps, and noted Kenya and Somalia have no diplomatic relationship to continue hosting the refugees there.