Kenya: JRS joins the appeal from the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops not to close refugee camps

08 May 2021

A group of single mothers attending a weekly JRS counseling session. (Photos: Fredrik Lerneryd)
A group of single mothers attending a weekly JRS counseling session in Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya. (Photo Fredrik Lerneryd)

Jesuit Refugee Service Kenya reaffirms the appeal of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops to the government of Kenya on refugee camps’ closure

Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Kenya recognises and appreciates the efforts and commitment shown by the Government of Kenya to generously welcome and protect refugees and displaced people over the years, playing a lead role within the region and assuring a safe space to thousands of families seeking asylum. JRS also recognises that the situation in Kenya for forcibly displaced people from Somalia, South Sudan, the Great Lakes and more recently from the Tigray Region in Ethiopia is becoming worse, due to protracted and emerging conflicts and the Covid-19 pandemic.

JRS reaffirms the appeal from the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops and recommends that the Government of Kenya exert maximum forethought and caution in this particular time of uncertainty, wisely considering the legal obligations imposed by international law and the Organization of African Unity (OAU) Convention. This includes the principle of non-refoulement, the practical limitations of closing large-scale refugee camps hosting more than 410.000 people and the moral obligation to take care of the most vulnerable in society and to pursue the common good.

JRS has been working in Kenya for the last 27 years and will continue to support the Government of Kenya and all its stakeholders by providing basic services and support to refugees and host communities in Nairobi and in Kakuma refugee camp. At this challenging time, we continue to ensure access to education for children with disabilities, higher education for refugees, protection to women survivors of SGBV and children at risk, life-skills training, livelihoods, and mental health and psychosocial support, by accompanying, serving and advocating for the cause of refugees.

 

JRS is a member of the Executive Committee of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops on Refugees, Migrants and Seafarers.