Success: Government Delays Refugee Camp Closure

Target: Kenyan Interior Minister Joseph Nkaissery

Goal: Applaud decision to delay closure of the largest refugee camp in the world.

In a victory for the rights of refugees, the Kenyan government has announced that it is delaying the closure of the Dadaab refugee camp, home to an estimated 350,000 refugees, by six months. This year, 18,000 refugees have returned to Somalia from Dadaab of their own volition. Given the fact that forcibly removing or repatriating refugees is illegal, it was unclear how the Kenyan government planned to close the camp without violating the rights of the refugees therein. Furthermore, given the continued violence in Somalia, returning refugees to the country would put many in danger.

This move to delay the camp’s closure comes after a campaign of political pressure and criticism from the international community and NGOs as well as this Force Change petition. While delaying the Dadaab Camp closure is a victory for refugee rights, the new deadline is far too tight for it to be achieved within the constraints of international law.

Sign this petition and both applaud the delayed closure and demand that the Kenyan government formulate a plan that guarantees the rights of refugees.


Dear Minister Nkaissery,

I am writing to applaud the announced delay in the closure of the Dadaab Refugee Camp. Given that only 18,000 out of an estimated 350,000 residents have returned to Somalia this year, the initial deadline could not be achieved without the widescale violation of the rights of refugees.

However, while the new deadline is a step in the right direction given the rate of return of refugees and the recent territorial gains of Al Shabaab, May 2017 is far too optimistic a closure date. I urge you to formulate a plan for the future of the Dadaab Refugee camp that guarantees the rights of refugees.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Bjorn Heidenstrom

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