The High Court in Nairobi has quashed the government’s plan to close down the Dadaab refugee camp.
On Thursday, Justice John Mativo ruled that Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery and Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho acted beyond their powers in issuing the directive to close down the camp.
The court also declared the repatriation of refugees unconstitutional and described it as discriminative.
The judge directed the state to adopt mechanisms that would ensure the department of refugees is functioning properly.
Notices published in the Kenya Gazette announcing repatriation of refugees were declared null and void.
Last May, Mr Nkaissery announced the government was shutting down the camp by November 2016, citing security, environmental and economic concerns, and accused the international donors of doing little to support refugees.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and rights groups Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International had publicly condemned the move.
Mr Nkaissery insisted the “decision to close Dadaab was based on serious security considerations.”
The Jubilee government put Sh1 billion into the programme meant to hasten the closure, and appointed a special task force to look into ways of doing so.
In November, the government extended the deadline for closing the Dadaab refugee complex in what it said was the “delicate security situation in Somalia.”
©Alleastafrica and Daily Nation