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  • on 22.04.2015
  • at 01:08 PM
  • by Kevin Hind

Closing Dadaab will only punish the wrong people 1

Never let the facts get in the way of scapegoating and xenophobia. Thus the calls to close down Dadaab refugee camp and resettle its 350,000 or so inhabitants in Somalia. Whether or not they’re all Somali.

The calls began with the parliamentarian for Garissa and assorted politicians from the region. It was picked up by no less than the office of the Deputy Presidency. Then echoed, unsurprisingly, by the umbrella for the evangelical churches (determined to frame violent extremism as a battle between Christianity and Islam). And, surprisingly, by the trade union umbrella.

The parliamentary human-rights caucus put out a measured statement, sensibly calling for respect for our Constitutional and treaty obligations and, even more sensibly, for longer-term “solutions” such as enabling refugees to work freely and integrate. Coastal politicians fell on this side of the debate.

The public, however, remains divided. Scapegoating and xenophobia come easy when people are angry and scared. As Kenyans are in the aftermath of the Garissa attack.

The immediate reason for the calls for the camp’s closure is evident. Intelligence has apparently informed the executive and relevant parliamentary committees that the camp is used for the co-ordination and planning of attacks by Al Shabaab. Which may be true. But so, presumably, are other sites in Kenya given the geographic spread of attacks both big and small.

The GoK says it is annoyed with the slow pace of implementation of the tripartite agreement between it, the government of Somalia and UNHCR on voluntary returns.

Continue reading on The East African

by  L. Muthoni Wanyeki 

Photo Credit: Flickr/Oxfam International ( An aerial view of Dadaab, 2011)

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  1. Anita says:

    How long should we house refugees in Kenya?? It has been more than 20 years! Please also provide your views on what the long term plans for this camp should be.

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