Dadaab, Kenya. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

John Riveraby


At Lutheran World Relief, we are extremely concerned about the news we received this week that the Kenyan government will close the Dadaab refugee camp, located on the border of Kenya and Somalia, and will seek to repatriate the mostly Somali refugees who live there.

LWR, working with our partner, the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Department for World Service, provides ongoing assistance to refugees in the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps in Kenya, serving refugees from Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and other neighboring countries. The Lutheran World Federation is a global communion of 145 churches in the Lutheran tradition, representing over 72 million Christians in 98 countries, and we collaborate with them on a number of projects around the world.

Closing the World’s Largest Refugee Camp

In a statement issued on May 6, Kenya’s Interior Ministry cited security challenges posed by Al-Shabaab, the armed Somali Islamist group, and the slow pace of Somali refugee repatriation as factors in its decision to close Dadaab, which is the world’s largest refugee camp. It also plans to dismantle the Department of Refugee Affairs. Thankfully, an initial decision to close the Kakuma camp has been rescinded.

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