, NAIROBI, Kenya, June 6 – The state run Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) has moved to court to challenge the recent decision by the government to close the Dadaab refugee camp.
Under a certificate of urgency, the human rights commission insists that the move to disband the Department of Refugees Affairs is unconstitutional as it was not preceded by any known public discussion.
The move, KNCHR argues, is illegal and has far reaching negative effects on the rights and fundamental freedoms of thousands of refugees and asylum seekers within the republic as it denies them access to vital resources offered by the department.
“A process that seeks to deny refugees and asylum seekers the rights accrued to them by failing to take into account their individual circumstances cannot be reasonable or fair,” states KNCHR.
In the suit papers, KNHCR states that the closure of Daadab Refugee Camp will occasion danger and persecution to refugees and asylum seekers if they are forcibly returned without proper assessment of the security concerns.
“All this will have been done in breach of various national, regional and international legal instruments protecting refugees as it fails to take into account individual needs and safety measures,” KNHCR states.
Pending hearing and determination of the application, KNCHR wants the decision of the State to repatriate the refugees stayed and the Ministry of Interior directed to reinstate and resume operations of the Department of Refugee Affairs as constituted immediately.
According to KNCHR the blanket directive by the government has no regard for individual circumstances of the refugees is arbitrary and discriminative.
The petitioner goes on to say the directive is a direct violation of International laws and have an effect on other fundamental rights and freedoms of refugees.
KNCHR adds that some of the refugees and asylum seekers are likely to face persecution if they are forcibly returned without a proper assessment of their safety before return.