News / Africa

UN Refuses to Close Somali Refugee Camps in Kenya

VOA News
The United Nations says it will not close Somali refugee camps in Kenya, despite an order from a government minister for the camps to shut down.

Kenya hosts nearly 500,000 Somalis who have fled their country over the past 20 years, most of whom live in the sprawling Dadaab camps near the border.

On Sunday, Kenyan Internal Security Minister Joseph Lenku said the camps must close and refugees must prepare to return to Somalia.

Kitty McKinsey, a spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency, said in an interview with VOA the agency is not taking Lenku's words as a command.

"We do not believe that there is any order for the refugee camps in Kenya to be closed," she said. "The Kenyan government and the Kenyan people have been very generous to the refugees over the years, and we certainly have every reason to expect that will continue to be the case."

Earlier this month, the agency and the governments of Kenya and Somalia signed an agreement to support Somali refugees who return home voluntarily.

McKinsey emphasized that the agreement did not call for the refugee camps to be shut down.

"There are no plans to close the refugee camp," she said. "Certainly the agreement that was signed among UNHCR, the govts of Kenya and Somalia does not call for the closing of the camps. There's not going to be a closure any time soon, nobody is talking about closing the camps any time soon."

A number of Somali refugees have returned home in recent months as fighting has eased in Somalia and the economy improves.

But many refugees remain in Kenya, where some have lived since the outbreak of Somalia's civil war in the early 1990s.

According to the U.N. refugee agency, the five Dadaab camps are home to 388,000 Somali refugees. It says another 54,000 live in the Kakuma camp in northwest Kenya, with another 32,000 living in the capital, Nairobi.

You May Like

Bleak China Economic Outlook Rattles Markets

Several key European stock indexes were down nearly three percent, while US market indexes were off around two percent in early trading More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
November 29, 2013 3:49 AM
According to Kenyan media couple of years ago clearly stated that Kenyan benefited most from the intense torment of Somali refugees pouring into Kenya, as result the economy of Kenya mushroomed. Now it makes no sense blaming Somali refugees the insecurity, bribery and corruptions that plagued Kenyan public life. But at the end of the day Somalis in the refugee camps in Kenya have to come back home and make the best out of it. Surely in the near future Kenyan will have no one to blame for their political short coming.

by: Nimo from: Nairobi
November 26, 2013 2:22 PM
herding Somalis off to their country isn't the solution to Kenya's security lapses and Lenku knows this. Who is busy taking bribes from illegal immigrants? who is busy taking lots of money from foreigners who's business is unknown? Answer... Kenyans! We are to blame for the lapses. If we have zero tolerance for corruption and embrace community policing, we head in the right direction of internal security.

by: ipopo from: Ebakasi
November 26, 2013 5:56 AM
refugee should return to somali bec of insecurity in kenya.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs