UCF Global Perspectives


Kenyan High Court Blocks Refugee Camp Closure

Christy Box, Global Connections Scholar, Human Rights and Refugees

February 17, 2017

The High Court of Kenya has blocked the government’s directive to shut down the Dadaab refugee camp. The government has cited security concerns as a reason to close the camp, stating the camp is a breeding group for terrorist activity (New York Times). The directive ordered the closure of the camp and the forced repatriation of the refugees living in the camp (BBC). A Kenyan judge ruled this order was illegal and discriminatory and that refugees could not be forcibly relocated (New York Times).

A spokesman for the Kenyan government stated the closure of the refugee camp was in the interests of protecting the lives of Kenyans. The Kenyan government is also currently building a fence along the 700km border with Somalia (BBC). The Dadaab refugee complex houses over 272,000 refugees, and most of the population is Somali. The camp was opened in 1991 for refugees fleeing Somalia’s civil war. A second large influx of refugees came to Dadaab in 2011, fleeing drought and famine in Somalia (UNHCR).






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