Kenya now says it has formally communicated to the UN refugee agency that it will close the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps on 30 June 2022.
Interior Minister Fred Matiang’í made the announcement after meeting the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.
Mr Matiang’í said a team of officials from the government of Kenya and the UNHCR will fast track the process set to begin on 5 May 2022.
The latest roadmap includes voluntary repatriation or issuing of free work or residence permits for refugees from the East African Community.
The government in March gave the UN a two-week ultimatum to come up with a roadmap for the closure of the two camps, which host more than 400,000 refugees mostly from Somalia, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Kenya has been sheltering refugees for over 30 years, and the government now says its capacity to host them longer under the minimum standards of humanitarian action has been overstretched.
Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho added that the decision to close Dadaab and Kakuma camps by 30 June 2022 “is in our country’s public interest”.