Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) welcomes today's ruling by the Kenyan High Court, which has declared the closure of the Dadaab refugee camps illegal, and has reinstated the Department of Refugee Affairs.
This is a very positive step for the lives of the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have been stuck in limbo since the official announcement about the camp closure was made in May last year.
MSF urges the Government of Kenya to uphold the decision. Any return of refugees to Somalia must be undertaken on a voluntary basis.
MSF has strongly opposed the plan to close the camps since day one, instead urging immediate consideration of alternative solutions to long-term encampment on such a large scale, including increased resettlement to third countries, smaller camps in Kenya or integration of refugees into Kenyan communities.
MSF first started working in Dadaab in 1992 and is currently the only provider of medical care in Dagahaley camp. Staff are working in the 100-bed hospital in Dagahaley camp and at two health posts, providing outpatient and mental health consultations, surgery, and antenatal, HIV and tuberculosis care.