UN chief won't accept Kenya's decision to close camps

Tuesday May 24 2016

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon delivers a speech on May 23, 2016 during the World Humanitarian Summit opening ceremony in Istanbul, Turkey. AFP PHOTO | OZAN KOSE

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reiterated his concerns about the planned shutdown of Kenya's Dadaab 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 latter vowed that Dadaab would be closed this year.

READ: Decision to close Dadaab final, says Ruto

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 was 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.

Recent violence

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.

READ: Police seal off Kenya poll agency offices as protests turn violent

The two men also discussed recent developments in Somalia, Burundi and South Sudan.