UN: Kenyan High Court to hear petition on Dadaab refugee camp closure on Monday

New York, US (PANA) - The High Court in Kenya will on 7 November hear a petition filed by two civil society organizations challenging the government’s decision to close down Dadaab refugee camp and disband the Department of Refugee Affairs (DRA).

Human rights watchdog, Amnesty International, in a statement on Friday said it is participating in the proceedings as an interested party and has filed submissions on Kenya’s obligations under international law to ensure the rights of asylum seekers and refugees.

It noted that the petition, filed by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and Kituo Cha Sheria, seeks to have the government’s closure decisions declared unconstitutional.

Michelle Kagari, deputy director of Amnesty International’s East Africa regional office, said: "The closure of Dadaab would be a disaster for the tens of thousands of refugees still living there who have nowhere else to go.Their repatriation to Somalia is not voluntary and they are being forced to return when the conditions that forced them to flee in the first place have not improved.

"We hope that this court action will prompt the Kenyan authorities to reconsider their decision, and uphold their international obligations to protect refugees."

The Kenyan government announced on 6 May that it was disbanding the Department of Refugee Affairs with immediate effect, and would close the camp on 30 November 2016, repatriating the more than 260,000 Somali refugees there to Somalia despite the immense risks they would face.

Somalia has been ravaged by more than two decades of conflict.

Fighting between government forces, supported by African Union (AU) troops, and Al-Shabaab militants has resulted in gross human rights violations against civilians and devastated basic services and infrastructure.
-0-  PANA  AA/AR  4Nov2016

04 november 2016 14:44:45

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