On Kenya's Announcement to End Hosting of Refugees

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
May 11, 2016

I am deeply concerned by the Government of Kenya’s decision to close refugee camps in Kenya, dismantle the Department of Refugee Affairs, and expedite the return of hundreds of thousands of refugees who have sought protection in Kenya.

We strongly urge the Government of Kenya to maintain its longstanding leadership role in protecting and sheltering victims of violence and trauma, consistent with its international obligations. We call on Kenya to uphold these international obligations and not forcibly repatriate refugees.

We deeply appreciate the hospitality and commitment that Kenya has shown over decades of hosting refugees. We have long supported Kenya in shouldering this significant responsibility, including through significant contributions in humanitarian assistance and by resettling many refugees to the United States.

We call on Kenya to continue its support for refugees and voluntary return efforts, and to continue to work with UNHCR and partner nations to find durable solutions that respect humanitarian standards and uphold international law. We also urge the Government of Kenya to honor its responsibilities, including the 2013 Tripartite Agreement on the voluntary repatriation of Somali refugees living in Kenya.

We remain committed to working with Kenya to support voluntary returns that are safe, dignified and consistent with international law, as well as helping Kenya to address security concerns presented by al-Shabaab and other extremist groups.