Kenyan judge rules against closure of two refugee camps

A Kenyan judge ruled yesterday against the closure of two refugee camps hosting hundreds of thousands of people mainly from neighbouring Somalia, according to a copy of the court order seen by Reuters.

Two weeks ago the country’s interior minister, Fred Matiang’i, announced the government’s intention to shut the camps and gave the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) two weeks to present a plan to do so, adding that there was no room for further talks on the issue.

The ruling blocks the closure for 30 days. It originated from a petition filed by a local politician challenging a move to shut down the camps.

The case involving plans to close the camps will be back in the courtroom in a month.

The Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps in northern Kenya together host more than 410,000 people, a small proportion of whom are from South Sudan.

Citing national security concerns, authorities in Nairobi first signalled their plans to shut the Dadaab camp, which is closer to the border with Somalia than Kakuma, back in 2016.

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