The Kakuma and Dadaab Refugee Camps with be closed by June 30, 2022, the government has told the UNHCR- the UN Refugee Agency.
According to a statement by the Ministry of Interior, the process of repatriating some refugees to their home countries has already kicked off.
However, not all will be repatriated since some will be allowed to stay through Work/Residence Permits.
“Kenya has formally communicated to UNHCR its decision to close Dadaab and Kakuma camps by 30 June 2022. Among the precursory activities in GoK’s roadmap is repatriation of refugees to countries of origin and socioeconomic integration of some of them through Work/Residence Permits,” the Interior Ministry said.
The two refugee camps which are located in Northern Kenya host around 500,000 people from Somalia, South Sudan and Ethiopia.
The government had given UNHCR 14 days to come up with a plan for closure, saying there was no room for further negotiations.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said that the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps were posing a threat to the country’s security.
Dadaab Refugee complex consists of three camps. They are Dagahaley, Ifo and Hagadera. The first two are located in Lagdera (Dadaab) district while Hagadera is located in the neighbouring Fafi district.
Dagahaley camp was established in 1991 when refugees fleeing the civil war in Somalia started to cross the border into Kenya. A second large influx occurred in 2011, when some 130,000 refugees arrived, fleeing drought and famine in southern Somalia.
On the other hand, Kakuma refugee camp is located in the outskirts of Kakuma town, which is the headquarters for Turkana West District of Turkana County.
Kakuma camp and Kalobeyei Integrated Settlement had a population of 196,666 registered refugees and asylum-seekers at the end of July 2020.