Nobel laureate, Malala Yousafzai has kicked against the use of force in the closure of the world’s largest refugee camp, the Dadaab camp, in Kenya.
According to the 19-year-old who flew to Kenya to spend her birthday with girls in the camp, the decision to return over 300,000 refugees from Dadaab to Somalia should be voluntary; “they should not be forced to move,” she said.
“As we all know the camp is going to be closed down soon, so I want to make sure that these girls don’t become a generation lost and there are alternative facilities for them to continue with their education,” she added.
As we all know the camp is going to be closed down soon, so I want to make sure that these girls don't become a generation lost and there are alternative facilities for them to continue with their education.
The girl child education activist warned that if force was applied in the repatriation process, there was a high chance that the girls risk dropping out of school, given the volatile circumstances back home in Somalia.
She impressed on the Kenyan government to take time to reconsider their decision to close the camp which has been home for some of the refugees since they were born. The Kenyan authorities however see Dadaab as a security liability.
They have insisted that the camp would be closed but pledged to ensure that repatriations were carried out in a humane way. International bodies including the United Nations have also cautioned against forced evictions.
Malala was awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize after Pakistani militants shot her in 2012, while she was returning from school. Their reason being that she was an outspoken advocate of girl child education in a conservative setting.
In 2014, the UN officially named 12 July, ‘Malala Day’ to celebrate the vision and ideals she stands for. She has in the recent past spent her birthday with an African touch. She was in Nigeria to commiserate with families of the Chibok Girls two years ago.
Last year she had a Skype call with girls in the Dadaab camp, in the lead up to visiting them this year.