The government determined to close down refugee camps.

The government of President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya has initiated a process for repatriation and eventual closure of refugee camps in the country citing very heavy economic and security challenges such as the threat of Al-Shabaab and other related terror groups. The hosting of refugees has continued to pose environmental burdens on Kenya due to the slow nature of repatriation .

In a move that has already been termed as a serious indication that Kenya is determined to close refugee camps, on May 6, 2016 the interior ministry’s Principal Secretary, Dr. Karanja Kibicho released a statement announcing that the Government of the Republic of Kenya has decided that hosting of refugees has to come to an end.

Refugee affairs department disbanded

“In this regard, the Government of Kenya has disbanded the Department of Refugee Affairs (DRA) as a first step. He went on to say that, the Government is "working on amechanism for closure" of at least two refugee camps within the shortest time possible.” .

Calls for the international community to help.

The Kenyan Government in acknowledging that the decision might have adverse effects on the lives of refugees and has invited the international community to collectively take responsibility for the humanitarian needs that will arise out of this action, and support the initiative so that process to shut down the two camps is expedited.

Home to over 600 thousand refugees.

Kenya is home to over 600, 000 refugees mainly in the Dadaab and Kakuma camps for nearly 25 years.

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TheMajority of refugees and asylum seekers in the two camps are from neighboring Somalia, South Sudan, and Ethiopia. They have fled civil war and general insecurity in their respective countries.

Closure subject discussed widely.

In November 2013, a tripartite agreement was signed to govern and lay ground for voluntary repatriation of refugees to Somalia and eventual closure of the refugee camps. The statement from Kenya’s government says the subject of repatriation and the closure has been discussed in many forums including the UN, the African Union, and the East African Region.

The Department of Refugee Affairs in Kenya manages refugee affairs and coordinates maintenance services. This department derives its mandate from the Refugee Act, 2006 and the 2009 Registration regulations. Kenya is a signatory to the 1951 Geneva Convention which relates to the protection of refugees, the 1967 protocol as well as the 1969 Organization of African Union (OAU) convention.

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