Presidents Kenyatta and Obama to work together in repatriating refugees
US President Barack Obama has said the United States and Kenya will work closely together to ensure the needs of refugees and host communities are met.
According to the White House Office of the Press Secretary, the two leaders discussed the challenges Kenya faces in hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees for more than two decades and the need for strong international support.
Speaking on phone with President Kenyatta on Thursday to accept President Kenyatta’s condolences for the terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida, President Obama reiterated his appreciation for the strong partnership between Kenya and the United States on a host of issues, including combating global terrorism and noted the progress Kenya has made on security.
President Kenyatta reiterated that Kenya will continue to respect the dignity and safety of refugees in Kenya and comply with its international legal obligations.
The President and President Kenyatta agreed that the United States and Kenya would work closely together on this issue.
Early May, the government declared that it will no longer be hosting refugees in the interest of national security. Kenya said it was shutting down the camps due to “very heavy” economic, security and environmental issues. Those due to close include Dadaab, the largest refugee camp in the world, home to more than 300,000 people on the Kenya-Somalia border.
The closure of the camps is reported to begin in September and the Kenyan Government has already disbanded the Department of Refugee Affairs, which worked with humanitarian organisations for the welfare of the refugees.
The government had previously said that the closure of the Dadaab refugee complex and repatriation of Somali refugees will be carried out in a humane manner.