Africa

Kenya court quashes government order to close refugee camp

  • FILE - In this Friday, Aug. 5, 2011, file photo, tents are seen at the UNHCR's Ifo Extension camp outside Dadaab, eastern Kenya, 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the Somali border. A Kenyan court on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017 declared illegal a government order to close the world's largest refugee camp and send more than 200,000 people back to war-torn Somalia. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)

    FILE - In this Friday, Aug. 5, 2011, file photo, tents are seen at the UNHCR's Ifo Extension camp outside Dadaab, eastern Kenya, 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the Somali border. A Kenyan court on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017 declared illegal a government order to close the world's largest refugee camp and send more than 200,000 people back to war-torn Somalia. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • Map locates Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya; 1c x 2 inches; 46.5 mm x 50 mm;

    Map locates Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya; 1c x 2 inches; 46.5 mm x 50 mm;  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Monday, Feb. 20, 2012, file photo, parts of Dadaab, the world's largest refugee camp, are seen from a helicopter in northern Kenya. A Kenyan court on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017 declared illegal a government order to close the world's largest refugee camp and send more than 200,000 people back to war-torn Somalia. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)

    FILE - In this Monday, Feb. 20, 2012, file photo, parts of Dadaab, the world's largest refugee camp, are seen from a helicopter in northern Kenya. A Kenyan court on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017 declared illegal a government order to close the world's largest refugee camp and send more than 200,000 people back to war-torn Somalia. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)  (The Associated Press)

A Kenyan court has declared illegal a government order to close the world's largest refugee camp and send more than 200,000 people back to war-torn Somalia.

Judge John Mativo said Thursday that Kenya's internal security minister had abused his power by ordering the closure in May of Dadaab refugee camp, near the border with Somalia.

The judge said the decision is discriminatory and goes against the Kenyan constitution as well as international treaties that protect refugees against being returned to a conflict zone.

Mativo said the Kenyan government had not proved Somalia is safe for the refugees to return.