UN chief not accepting Kenya's decision to shut Dadaab camps

Refugees at the Dadaab camp on December 4, 2013. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • A UN summary of the meeting indicates that Mr Ban was not persuaded by Mr Ruto's address to the World Humanitarian Summit.
  • The UN chief “pointed to the potentially devastating consequences of prematurely ending refugee hosting for hundreds of thousands of people,” said the summary supplied by the world body's press office.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reiterated his concerns on Kenya's planned shutdown of the Dadaab refugee camps during talks in Istanbul on Monday with Deputy President William Ruto.

A UN summary of the meeting indicates that Mr Ban was not persuaded by Mr Ruto's address to the World Humanitarian Summit, also on Monday, in which the Kenya's number-two leader vowed that Dadaab will be closed this year.

The UN chief “pointed to the potentially devastating consequences of prematurely ending refugee hosting for hundreds of thousands of people,” said the summary supplied by the world body's press office.

Mr Ban also “recognised the extraordinary humanitarian role Kenya has played over the years as one of the world's foremost refugee hosting countries,” the UN reported.

The summary further suggested that the UN is not backing down from its efforts to persuade Kenya to keep the Dadaab complex open.

High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and Deputy UN Secretary-General Jan Eliasson will soon visit Kenya to “further engage on this issue,” the summary said.

Mr Ban and Mr Ruto also discussed preparations for Kenya's elections next year following the recent violence related to protests against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

The UN's top official “underscored the need for a peaceful election process with full respect for human rights,” the readout of the meeting said.
The two men also discussed recent developments in Somalia, Burundi and South Sudan.

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