The Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya, currently home to 277,000 people, are set to close by the end of 2016. The Kenyan government cites economic, security, and environmental concerns as reasons for the closure. However, a survey conducted by MÃ©decins Sans FrontiÃ¨res (MSF) reveals that the majority of refugees are unwilling to return to Somalia, their country of origin. The survey found that 86% of respondents were unwilling to go back to Somalia, with 97% expressing concerns about the risk of sexual violence and forced recruitment into armed groups. Additionally, 84.8% believed that health services would not be available in Somalia.
The refugees in Dadaab have been living in limbo for 25 years, unable to work or integrate into Kenyan society. While conditions in the camps are far from ideal, they provide a relatively safe environment with access to education and healthcare. MSF argues that the conditions necessary for a safe and dignified return to Somalia are not present, as the country is still plagued by conflict, lack of basic services, and acute food shortages. MSF urges the Kenyan government to reconsider the closure and provide alternatives that prioritize the health, security, and dignity of the refugees.