Europe and the world must act now on Dadaab catastrophe
The humanitarian crisis in one of the world’s biggest refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya, has been debated by MEPs tonight, with GUE/NGL urging the European Union to do more to alleviate this growing catastrophe.
With the ongoing conflict in neighbouring Somalia as well as cholera outbreaks, recent heavy rains and continuous droughts, almost a quarter-of-a-million Somali refugees remain trapped in the five camps that make up Dadaab.
All these are taking place just as the Kenyan High Court blocked an attempt by the government in Nairobi to close down the camp late last year.
Uncertainty surrounding the camp is therefore a major source of worry for the refugees at Dadaab. In addition, their movements are highly restricted, meaning a heavy reliance on external humanitarian relief and food aid at a time when international funding has already been reduced significantly.
Commenting on the catastrophic situation, French MEP and GUE/NGL Coordinator on the Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights, Marie-Christine Vergiat said:
"We talk about fighting the root causes of migration, it should first and foremost be about solidarity. Yet, the only answer proposed is increasingly a military and security one.”
“Worse still, the UNHCR only raised 15 per cent of the US$ 215 million required to adequately assist the refugees in Kenya.”
“But the continuous drought is exacerbating the humanitarian situation. We are moving towards an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe.”
“This is urgent! The international community has a heavy responsibility and European policies are not efficient enough in tackling this tragedy!" said Vergiat.
Spanish MEP Marina Albiol is equally damning of the EU’s policy towards refugees not just in Dadaab, but Africa as a whole:
“As far as the EU is concerned, the funds that we have promised African countries in dealing with refugees are contingent upon all these countries abiding by our norms.”
“That includes the setting up of detention centres in Niger or helping to train the army in certain African countries in order to apply the kind of migratory policies that Brussels is coming up with.”
“This means that people are suffering and have become victims by staying in these camps in undignified conditions.”
“These are the EU’s policies to stop people from coming to Europe. Africa has welcomed 4 million people in this dire situation. But the EU, with a lot more resources, has not even been able to do the same with the 160 000 refugees it had agreed to,” argued Albiol.