Catholic Bishops of Kenya deplore the proposed closure of refugee camps

Nairobi, 20 June 2016 - The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops recently issued a press statement voicing their deep concern over the Kenyan government’s proposal to close refugee camps. The Episcopal Conference urged the government to reconsider its position, highlighting the fact that the country has always been at the forefront of the world's humanitarian efforts of hosting refugees.

Kakuma refugee campsAerial view of Kakuma refugee camps in Kenya. Photo: UNHCR/Siegfried Modola The Catholic Bishops of Kenya called on the government to uphold international law principles, since Kenya is a signatory to both the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and the 1968 Organization of African Unity Convention. Shutting down refugee camps, including the world’s largest Daadab refugee camp, and imposing involuntary repatriation would likely expose refugees to persecution, triggering harrowing humanitarian consequences that would affect the whole region.

“We urge the Government to pursue opportunities for dialogue and work with relevant actors to ensure the smooth and voluntary repatriation of refugees as well as prioritisation of a long-term dignified refugee response,” the Bishops commented, remaining committed to collaborating with the Kenyan government for a sustainable solution to the refugee flows.