24 January 2013

Kenyan High Court Blocks Govt From Transferring Refugees to Camps

Photo: WFP/Justin Smith
High Court stops the government from relocating refugees to the camps.

Kenya's High Court Judge David Majanja on Wednesday (January 23rd) temporarily blocked the Kenyan government's decision to forcibly transfer refugees to camps while the court hears a suit against the move, Kenya's The Standard reported.

Kenyan non-governmental organisation Kituo Cha Sheria brought a legal challenge against the government's plan to round up refugees and asylum seekers in Thika Municipal Stadium before transferring them to the Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps.

On December 18th, Kenya ordered all Somali refugees in the country to relocate to camps, an order that Human Rights Watch has said is a violation of refugees' right to freedom of movement.

The move to transfer the refugees is in violation of the constitution and international laws, Kituo Cha Sheria's lawyer Solomon Masitsa said in his petition to the court. Masitsa said the government's decision to move all the refugees to camps was based on weak claims that they are causing insecurity in the country.

Kituo Cha Sheria also asked the court to stop the government from closing down refugee registration centres in urban areas.

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