The High Court in Nairobi on 8th April 2021 temporarily blocked government from repatriating refugees and asylum seekers dwelling at Kakuma and Dadaab camps. Justice Anthony Mrima issued the order following a petition filed by Kituo Cha Sheria, challenging Interior Minister Fred Matiang’i’s announcement on the government’s intention to shut the two refugee camps.
The two host more than 400,000 people mainly from Somalia but also from countries such as South Sudan and Ethiopia. The two camps were established in 1991 and 1992, respectively. The two orders – against closure of the camps and repatriation of the refugees – will remain in force until July 7 when the cases will be mentioned for directions. Kituo said the proposed closure of the camps and repatriation of refugees to their countries of origin violates their right to human dignity, freedom and security of persons, as stated under articles 27, 28 and 29 of the Constitution of Kenya.
They further note that the refugees fled persecution, serious human rights violations, conflict and other serious harm from neighbouring countries such as Somalia, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, South Sudan, Sudan, Eritrea and Uganda.
Kituo wants the court to declare that the government’s decision amounts to collective punishment and is illegal, discriminatory, and therefore unconstitutional. Kituo’s Forced Migration Program aims to protect and promote the rights of asylum seekers and refugees. The program seeks to address policy and legal needs of refugees and asylum seekers with the objective of improving welfare of refugees and asylum seekers and ensuring that they have access to justice.