International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Kenya tells UN to close Dadaab camp after Garissa attack

On April 2nd, 148 students were killed in an attack by Somali militants from the al-Shabab Islamist movement. The attack took place at a college in Garissa. The United Nations has been asked by William Ruto to close Dadaab camp. Ruto is Kenya’s Deputy President.

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Dadaab camp is the largest refugee camp in Africa that is surrounded by the desert in the north east of Kenya near the border of Somalia. Set up in 1991, the camp arranges housing for families escaping conflict in Somalia. Dadaab has been a home for some families for 20 years. In addition Dadaab has a Unity Primary School where about 2,500 children get a free education.

Ruto has given the UNHCR 3 months to close the refugee camp and “make alternative arrangements for its residents- otherwise, Kenya would ‘relocate them ourselves.’” He insists the the camp be closed and that the residents are moved back to Somalia. Somalia now has safe areas where the militants have been chased out of by African Union Forces. Moreover Ruto has asked for the relocation of more than 500,000 Somalis.

So far the UN has taken no action, according to the head of the UN refugee agency UNHCR in Kenya.

Other controversy with the Dadaab camp is that before, Kenyan members of parliaments and governors have accused al-Shabab of hiding in the camp. Furthermore the group was responsible for a siege at the Westgate mall in 2013 located in Nairobi.

Will the UN take action? It is in my opinion that the UN is unlikely to close the camp and relocate all of its inhabitants. At the moment the camp has a strong community and resources. There are families, schools, and stores established in Dadaab. I do believe though that the UN will increase it’s measures of security and continue monitoring the al-Shabab Islamist movement. This then beckons the question of whether or not this action will be enough.

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