Kenya is closing all its refugee camps, displacing 600,000

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Kenya Is Closing All Its Refugee Camps, Displacing 600,000

Kenya is closing all of its refugee camps -- forcing out more than 600,000 refugees.

The government says the cost and environmental burden -- plus security concerns over terrorist organizations like al-Shabab -- are reasons why.

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That rationale is similar to what the country said last year when it tried to close the camps -- including Dadaab, the largest migrant camp in the world. It currently houses about half of refugees in Kenya.

Last year, lack of funding caused food rations to be cut in camps.

And at that time, Doctors Without Borders -- which opposed the complete closure -- had to evacuate its staff in Dadaab over security concerns.

RELATED: Kenyans protest against corruption

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Kenya is closing all its refugee camps, displacing 600,000
A protester wearing red tape on his wrists to represent boxing, does push-ups during an anti-corruption demonstration in downtown Nairobi, Kenya Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. Over a hundred demonstrators marched to the Supreme Court, Parliament, and State House on Tuesday to protest against corruption and demanding the government crack down on it, some carrying boxing symbols to represent the theme "Knock out corruption". (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Protesters sit down in the street during an anti-corruption demonstration in downtown Nairobi, Kenya Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. Over a hundred demonstrators marched to the Supreme Court, Parliament, and State House on Tuesday to protest against corruption and demanding the government crack down on it, some carrying boxing symbols to represent the theme "Knock out corruption". (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Police and security forces arrest protest leader Boniface Mwangi, center, and another demonstrator during an anti-corruption demonstration in downtown Nairobi, Kenya Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. Over a hundred demonstrators marched to the Supreme Court, Parliament, and State House on Tuesday to protest against corruption and demanding the government crack down on it, some carrying boxing symbols to represent the theme "Knock out corruption". (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)
Police and security forces arrest a female demonstrator during an anti-corruption demonstration in downtown Nairobi, Kenya Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. Over a hundred demonstrators marched to the Supreme Court, Parliament, and State House on Tuesday to protest against corruption and demanding the government crack down on it, some carrying boxing symbols to represent the theme "Knock out corruption". (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)
A protester wears red tape on her hands to represent boxing, during an anti-corruption demonstration in downtown Nairobi, Kenya Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. Over a hundred demonstrators marched to the Supreme Court, Parliament, and State House on Tuesday to protest against corruption and demanding the government crack down on it, some carrying boxing symbols to represent the theme "Knock out corruption". (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
A protester wearing a mask in the colors of the Kenyan flag marches during an anti-corruption demonstration in downtown Nairobi, Kenya Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. Over a hundred demonstrators marched to the Supreme Court, Parliament, and State House on Tuesday to protest against corruption and demanding the government crack down on it, some carrying boxing symbols to represent the theme "Knock out corruption". (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
A protester carries a large mock boxing glove with the hashtag "KnockOutCorruption" during an anti-corruption demonstration in downtown Nairobi, Kenya Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. Over a hundred demonstrators marched to the Supreme Court, Parliament, and State House on Tuesday to protest against corruption and demanding the government crack down on it, some carrying boxing symbols to represent the theme "Knock out corruption". (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
A police officer hits a female demonstrator with his baton during an anti-corruption demonstration in downtown Nairobi, Kenya Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. Over a hundred demonstrators marched to the Supreme Court, Parliament, and State House on Tuesday to protest against corruption and demanding the government crack down on it, some carrying boxing symbols to represent the theme "Knock out corruption". (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)
A protester carries a large mock boxing glove with the hashtag "KnockOutCorruption" during an anti-corruption demonstration in downtown Nairobi, Kenya Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. Over a hundred demonstrators marched to the Supreme Court, Parliament, and State House on Tuesday to protest against corruption and demanding the government crack down on it, some carrying boxing symbols to represent the theme "Knock out corruption". (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Police arrest a demonstrator during an anti-corruption demonstration in downtown Nairobi, Kenya Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. Over a hundred demonstrators marched to the Supreme Court, Parliament, and State House on Tuesday to protest against corruption and demanding the government crack down on it, some carrying boxing symbols to represent the theme "Knock out corruption". (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)
A protester runs during an anti-corruption demonstration in downtown Nairobi, Kenya Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. Over a hundred demonstrators marched to the Supreme Court, Parliament, and State House on Tuesday to protest against corruption and demanding the government crack down on it, some carrying boxing symbols to represent the theme "Knock out corruption". (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
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But aid organizations like the United Nations ultimately convinced the country otherwise. That's unlikely this time because Kenya has already put its plans in motion.

Most of the refugees in Kenya are from the country's eastern neighbor, Somalia.

The two governments and the United Nations signed an agreement in 2013 that spelled out a plan for Somali refugees to safely return home if they chose to.

The Kenyan government says the signing of that agreement would allow the camps to eventually close.

While the government didn't announce an official date for the closures, it did say it would happen "within the shortest time possible."

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