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Malala Marks 19th Birthday With Visit To World's Largest Refugee Camp


Pakistani Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai arrives to celebrate her 19th birthday at the Dadaab refugee camp near the Kenya-Somalia border on July 12.

Pakistani Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai arrives to celebrate her 19th birthday at the Dadaab refugee camp near the Kenya-Somalia border on July 12.

Pakistan's Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai marked her 19th birthday on July 12 by visiting the world's largest refugee camp and voicing concern that Kenya's plans to close the facility could create "a generation lost."

Kenya's government announced in May that it would close the camp in the eastern part of the country near the Somali border by the end of 2016.

Officials in Kenya's government say the refugee camp is a security liability.

But Malala said on July 12 that the return of any of more than 300,000 refugees to Somalia should be voluntary because the country is still plagued by extremist violence.

She said if the camp is closed and its residents are forced to move to Somalia, where there are few schools, the "girls will be without education."

Malala urged Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta to take his time to decide the fate of the camp, saying he should take the concerns about education into consideration.

In 2014, at the age of 17, Malala became the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize winner when she was announced as the winner of the award for her human rights advocacy and activism for the right to education.

She survived an survived a gun attack in 2012 when she was shot on a school bus in Pakistan by the Taliban for advocating girls' rights to education.

Based on reporting by AP
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