Canada has joined International voices calling for the sober handling of the Dadaab refugee camp closure as concerns over the manner in which Kenya was handling the matter grows.
Responding to a question by York South – Weston’s Somali Canadian MP Ahmed Hussen in Parliament on Friday, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie Mrs. Marie-Claude Bibeau said her government was very concerned about the Government of Kenya’s decision to disband its department of refugee affairs and its intention to close the refugee camps at Dadaab.
“International refugee laws and refugees’ rights must be protected, all returns must be voluntary and conducted in accordance with domestic and International laws. Refugees needs to be protected” Bibeau said while responding to Hussen’s question.
Hussen sought to know his country’s position on Kenya’s decision to close the Dadaab refugee camp.
“I have often stated in the past, Refugees are NOT a danger, they are IN danger” he said.
“The Dadaab refugee complex in Kenya constitutes the world’s biggest refugee camp. The government of Kenya announced that it will close this camp, thereby breaching international obligations to protect asylum seekers and refugees” added Hussen.
Hussen made history in October 2015 when he defeated NDP MP Mike Sullivan, winning the York South-Weston riding.
The lawyer and community activist was born and raised in Somalia before migrating to Canada at the age of 16.
He is one of the 20 visible – minority MPs elected in the recent elections.
Kenya disbanded the department of refugee affairs on May 6, 2016 as the first step towards the closure of the World’s refugee camp.
The move attracted hue and cry from the International Community who called on Kenya to drop the decision. However, the Uhuru Kenyatta led administration has stood its grounds although it now seems to have slowed down on the immediate closure of the camps.
In a recent visit, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of Somalia said his country was ready to welcome home the Dadaab refugees and signaled it was only a matter of time before they returned home.
Following a series of meetings with his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta, Sheikh announced the process will not be forceful as feared but will be done as per the tripartite agreement signed by Kenya, Somalia and the UNHCR.