Kenya, home to over 550,000 refugees restricted all immigrants on its soil to two designated camps- Dadaab and Kakuma- in the wake of a terror attacks. The two camps are known for being secluded and overrun with refugees. The country’s main threat is Somali militants Al-Shabaab.
“We are very concerned that this is being applied in a very abrupt and a very inhumane way. There is really no reason to it because there is a very false link made between insecurity and refugees,” Kitty Mckinsey, Regional Spokesperson of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC) told CNBC Africa.
Dadaab is home to more than 400,000 refugees mainly Somalis, while Kakuma is home to more than 125,000 refugees from across the region.
“Kenya has been an extremely generous host over the years even now it has continued to accept refugees who are fleeing from South Sudan. The problem is that many of the refugees had a right to live in the cities and some of them had been there for 20 years and running businesses and to suddenly be told to go to camps is devastating for them,” Mckinsey said.
Since 2012, Kenya has seen a surge in grenade, bombs and armed attacks in its soil. The latest attack saw at least 11 people killed in Kenya’s coastal region a week after some 60 people died in twin massacres nearby.
In March the United Nations denounced the Kenyan government move to report the refugees to camps and termed the act “flouts a crystal clear court ruling banning such a move.”
“Refugees themselves are people who are fleeing war, persecution, conflict and they need protection themselves, they do not need to be made scapegoats,” Mckinsey said.
According to UNHCR, Kenya is the fifth stop in the world for asylum seekers after Pakistan, Iran, Jordan and Lebanon. The number of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people worldwide has, for the first time in the post-World War II era, exceeded 50 million people.