UN urges Kenya to rethink closure of camps for 600,000 refugees

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) asked Kenya on Monday to reconsider its decision to stop hosting 600,000 refugees, warning that such a move may violate the country's international obligations.

Kenya's interior minister announced Friday that the government had dissolved its refugee department and would shut down the world's largest refugee camp, in Dadaab, as well as a camp in Kakuma.

The ministry cited economic and security burdens, as well as the toll that the settlements takes on the environment.

"It is with profound concern that UNHCR takes note of this announcement," the agency based in Geneva said.

The safety of hundreds of thousands of people who have fled Somalia, South Sudan and other countries had hinged on Kenya's generosity, the UNHCR pointed out.

The policy shift could have "potentially devastating consequences" and may run counter to Kenya's duty to protect people fleeing from danger and persecution, the agency added in a written statement.

Kenya has been worried about the activities of the Islamist terrorist group al-Shabaab, which has targeted the nation since 2011, when Kenyan troops entered Somalia to help fight the group. It has linked al-Shabaab with Kakuma and Dadaab, where 380,000 Somalis live.

Last update: Mon, 09/05/2016 - 19:04

More from World

AT&T tops Bayer: the five biggest mega deals of 2016

With AT&T's offer worth over 100 billion dollars for media giant Time Warner, the US telecom firm has surpassed...

Islamic State storms strategic western town in Iraq counter-attack

Islamic State militants on Sunday seized parts of a strategic western town in Iraq in an apparent response to an...

Trump campaign: "We are behind"

Donald Trump's campaign manager admitted Sunday that the Republican presidential candidate is lagging behind...

Naked Trump sculpture fetches nearly 22,000 dollars at auction

A life-size street art sculpture depicting a fully naked Donald Trump has sold at auction for approximately 22,000...

Cameroon rescuers find more bodies after train crash

Two days after the derailment of a passenger train claimed more than 70 lives in Cameroon, rescuers were searching...