3 October 2017

Somalia: UNHCR Plan to Close Offices Sparks Protests

Operations in some parts of the expansive Dadaab refugee camp have been interrupted after the UNHCR announced it’s closing some offices.

Locals in Hagadera and Alinjugur have staged street protests since last Wednesday to push the UN agency to change its decision to close its Alinjugur sub-office.

They said crucial services such as food distribution, health, repatriation and registration of refugees will be interrupted.

The UNHCR offices in Dadaab could not be reached for comment. The residents said they will stage more protests if the agency does not change its decision.

Schools run by the UNHCR have remained closed following the protests. Local leaders have accused the UNHCR of working in isolation by closing the offices in Fafi constituency.

“It is unfortunate to see UNHCR carrying out decisions without involving the host community. What they are doing is not right and we will not sit back and watch as they do this,” resident Mohamed Ibrahim said.

Jarajilla MCA Mahat Osman said the UNHCR was taking the host community for granted. He said closing the offices will render many people jobless and cut short development projects.

He said if the agency makes good its threats to close the Alinjugur sub-office, they will also demand the closure of the Hagadera offices and relocation of about 85,000 refugees.

“We have been kind since refugees are our brothers who were fleeing from war... It’s unacceptable for UNHCR to do things that affect our people without consulting the local leadership,” Osman added.

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