Refugee Camps Ought to Have Been Closed Ages Ago
07 May 2016, 20:19
Nairobi - The United Nations Refugee Agency (United Nations High Commission for Refugees), is not being fair to the Kenyan government, and Kenyans at large as far as government's announcement to shut down refugee camps.
The shocking announcement that has attracted mixed signals, with outright condemnation from UNHCR, is going to displace close to a million hapless refugees and exacerbate deteriorating diplomatic ties with western bullying countries.
Nevertheless, methinks the closure is both a blessing and a bold step by the Kenyan government. Not only is the announced closure going to be an economic remedy to Kenya, but also a long-lasting solution to our security woes as a country.
The two camps were invariably cited as sources of Somali-based Islamic Extremists who massacred dozens of Kenyans at the WestGate Mall. More so, there are growing fears that the refugee centers have been serving as safe haven for active terror cells with Al-Shabaab ties.
The economic price Kenya continues unfairly paying thanks to constant insecurity woes is unjustifiable. And so are the millions of lives at stake.
It must be remembered that the burden of sheltering, clothing, feeding, nursing, and educating refugees need not necessarily be a one government's sole responsibility. It is therefore both irresponsible and hypocritical for the UNHCR (which according to Kenya's government officials has been silently reneging on its duties while expecting Kenyans alone to bear the overwhelming responsibility) to lambast our government officials for announcing closures of Dadaab Humanitarian Compound (on southern side of Dada, and southern side of Dadaab town on road from Garissa), and Kakuma, Turkana County, in the north-western region of Kenya.
The Geneva-based Humanitarian Agency is mandated to
protect and support refugees at the request of a government or the UN itself and assist in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to a third willing party.
Kenya has played its role for close to a quarter of a century. Now it is the time to wield the stick of reason and set the record straight once and for all. If nobody is helping our government, be it monetary-wise or diplomatically to extend a much needed helping hand to the thousands of Somali and South Sudan refugees, then I do not see why we should shoulder all the trouble all by ourselves.
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