Nairobi barred from closing world's largest refugee camp
Publish date: 13 February 2017
Issue Number: 714
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Kenya’s High Court has thrown out a government plan to shut down the world’s biggest refugee camp, halting the repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Somalis to the war-ravaged nation and relieving pressure on refugee facilities caused by President Donald Trump’s recent travel ban. The Wall Street Journal reports that Judge John Mativo ruled that the shutdown was ordered without proper consultation of people affected, in violation of the constitutional right to fair legal proceedings. Dadaab is home to some 256 000 people, the vast majority of them Somalis who fled across the border following the outbreak of civil war in 1991. A TimesLIVE report notes that Nairobi has vowed to shut Dadaab because it says the complex has been used by Islamist militants from Somalia as a recruiting ground to launch a string of attacks on Kenyan soil. The court's action was welcomed by rights groups. 'The High Court sent a strong message that at least one of Kenya's branches of government is still willing to uphold refugee rights,' Laetitia Bader, Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch, is quoted in the report as saying.