Kenya has formally communicated to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) its decision to close Dadaab and Kakuma camps by 30 June 2022.
In a tweet, the interior ministry made the announcement about five weeks after ordering the closure of the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps and giving the United Nations two weeks to present a plan to carry this out.
The government at the same time has said among the precursory activities in the roadmap is repatriation of refugees to countries of origin and socioeconomic integration of some of them through Work/Residence Permits.
“Among the precursory activities in (the government’s) roadmap is repatriation of refugees to countries of origin and socio-economic integration of some of them through Work/Residence Permits (in Kenya),” read the tweet.
A few days prior to the communication, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi had said Kenya would not shut down the two camps but would seek solutions.
“The Government of Kenya is not closing down those camps but wants to have a solution, to see what the way forward is,” Grandi said.
Grandi is visiting the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi to assess the problems refugees are currently facing.
Kenya has shouldered the burden of sheltering refugees for almost three decades,
and the swelling camps have overstretched their capacity to host populations.
The government has also expressed grave concerns over the security of both Kenyans and refugees at the camp.
In 2016, the country first announced their intention to shut the Dadaab camp citing national security concerns over infiltration by militants from the Somalia-based Islamist group al Shabaab.
Relations between Kenya and Somalia have deteriorated badly in the past year since Mogadishu cut diplomatic ties with Nairobi, accusing it of interfering in its internal affairs.
There are currently 433,765 refugees living in Dadaab and Kakuma camps.