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High Court quashes State plan to close Dadaab

10 February, 2017, 01:42 | Author: Paula Vaughn
  • Part of the eastern sector of the IFO-2 camp in the sprawling Dadaab refugee camp

The court ruling keeps the camp open and brings more certainty for refugees afraid of being repatriated to Somalia, where large parts of the south are controlled by the Shabab and a starvation is looming.

Kenya's highest court has ruled against the government's planned closure of Dadaab, a sprawling camp-city near the border with Somalia that houses some of the world's most vulnerable people.

In a toughly worded judgment, Judge John Mativo ruled Thursday that the Interior Minister and other officials had exceeded their powers and violated the law in their decision to close the camp, which he found would amount to group persecution of Somali refugees.

The government said immediately after the ruling that it meant to appeal.

The government will appeal a High Court ruling stopping the closure of Dadaab refugee camp.

The judge said the decision is discriminatory and goes against the Kenyan constitution as well as global treaties that protect refugees against being returned to a conflict zone.

The government disbanded the Department of Refugee Affairs last May and started the closure of the camp citing national security interests.

Amnesty International praised the court's decision, saying it "reaffirms Kenya's constitutional and international legal obligation" to protect those who seek safety from persecution.

The rights group Amnesty International praised the court's decision.

Kenya's High Court has voided a government decision to close the Dadaab refugee camp
Kenya court quashes planned closure of Dadaab, world's largest refugee camp

It also could force Kenyan authorities to draft another strategy for dealing with the camp, which the government claims is infiltrated by Islamist militant groups such as al-Shabab.

Most people in Dadaab came from Somalia after the conflict intensified and drought followed by a food crisis wrought havoc on Southern parts of the country.

But Kiraithe said the government's cardinal responsibility was to provide security for Kenyans.

The orders are excessive, arbitrary and disproportionate, he said.

He added that Somalia now has a government under President-elect and therefore the refugees will have a stable country to go back to.

It repeatedly stated its intention to deport all Somali refugees despite a barrage of objections from rights groups and relief organisations.

The government had been planning to shut down Dadaab for more than six months.

Kenya's high court announced the ruling Thursday.

Bombardier secures controversial state loan
It says the timing and location of talks should be agreed upon by the two countries in the coming weeks. The province's largest pension fund invested $1.5 billion in the company's rail unit.

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