KENYA: Jesuit Refugee Services Calls on Govt. Not to Close Refugee Camps

NAIROBI MAY 13, 2016(CISA)-The Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS) has called on the Kenya government to reverse its decision to clamp down on refugees citing security concerns.

In a joint statement with other NGOs providing assistance to refugees in Kenya, JRS said that the consequences could be dire for the 600,000 refugees that are currently seeking refuge in Kenya especially in the two main camps of Kakuma and Daadab.

“Practically speaking, the fact that the Department for Refugee Affairs has already been disbanded means that all those refugees currently arriving in the nation are not being registered so at the moment we know that there are nearly 500 refugees waiting at the border of South Sudan and Kenya who have not been able to be registered and thus not been able to transfer into Kenya,” Angela Wells, the Jesuit Refugee Service Eastern Africa communications officer told The Vatican Radio.

She said that there are presently over 2,200 refugees that are awaiting clearance to get into Kakuma camp and are already at  high risk of contracting diseases due to lack of shelter.

“Movement passes are not being given to refugees who are meant to live in camps (and most of them do) so in the event of a medical emergency, the sick or wounded person is not allowed to be evacuated into Nairobi for treatment and we know that one refugee in Dadaab camp has already died,” she said.

The Somalia government has also appealed to Kenya to reconsider the decision to close the camps noting that it will make the threat of terrorism worse.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Investment Promotion of the Federal Republic of Somalia stated that this is due to “the volatile situation the sudden move and the proposed subsequent actions will cause.”

In a statement, it further indicated that it will negatively affect the majority of Somali refugees, who are housed in the two camps.

“This decision will negatively affect the majority of Somali refugees who are housed in the two camps and will make the threat of terrorism worst, not better, given the volatile situation this sudden decision and the proposed subsequent actions will cause,” the statement said.

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed however, on Thursday, May 12 stated that “there is no doubt about Kenya’s resolve to shut down Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps.”

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