Refugee repatriation to be done in humane manner- CS Amina
The closure of the Dadaab refugee complex and repatriation of Somali refugees will be carried out in a humane manner, this is according to Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambssador Amina Mohamed.
CS Mohamed made the statement during a meeting of the Tripartite Agreement Partners – with Honourable Abdisalam Omer, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Government of Somalia and Representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Kenya and Somalia, at her office in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The meeting reviewed the challenges that have led to limited success in assisted repatriation of refugees since the signing of the Agreement in November 2013.
CS Amina said that the Government of Kenya had formed a task-force that will outline the modalities of the exercise to ensure an orderly and humane process .
Noting the failure of the international community to translate their pledges into concrete support, the meeting expressed concern at the international community’s neglect of the Somali displacement and refugee crisis.
Both Ministers committed to working together, and underscored an equal obligation of the international community in contributing to successful repatriation that restores dignity and hope to the thousands of people who have been displaced in conditions of squalor for more than two decades.
On his part Minister Omer expressed the appreciation of his country for the sacrifice that Kenya has made in hosting the Somali refugees for over two decades.
“Somalis are very grateful to Kenyans for keeping our nationals for 20 years or more. They have given them homes, investment opportunities and lived in Kenya as their home. We appreciate Kenya and are sure it will carry out the current exercise in the most humane manner,” said Omer.
He stated that his government was willing and ready to receive the refugees back and to ensure safe return and settlement and appealed to the International community to help finance the exercise.
Both ministers expressed confidence that the remaining time-frame of the current Tripartite Agreement provides an opportunity and ample time to fast track the repatriation and contribute to the ongoing stabilization of Somalia.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has previously said Kenya’s decision to repatriate Somali refugees back to their country is not reversible.
“The train has already left the station. It’s now up to those who are interested at seeing the success of the journey to come on board,” said the President.
Last week, Deputy President William Ruto said repatriation of refugees should not be viewed as a punishment but as a means to allow people to return and reconstruct their countries.
The Deputy President told a gathering at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey that the move equally helps reduce pressure on fragile ecological systems saying that this was one of the reasons Kenya decided to close the Dadaab Refugee Camp.
“Repatriation of refugees should not be perceived as punishment but should be seen in the broader context of giving them a chance to go and reconstruct their country,” he said.
Pressure has been mounting on Kenya to rescind its decision to close the Daadab and Kakuma refugee camps.
The United Nations refugee agency has previously called on Kenya to reconsider its plans to close the country’s two main refugee camps, saying the move would have “devastating consequences” for hundreds of thousands of people.
UNHCR said in a statement that it viewed the plans by Kenya’s government with “profound concern.”
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