Kenya, Somalia and UNHCR team up to repatriate Somalia refugees

The Kenyan government has agreed to form a tripartite commission to oversee the repatriation of Somali refugees from the Dadaab camp.

(Daily nation) On Tuesday, Kenya, Somalia and the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said they had formally nominated four representatives each to a team to “expedite repatriation of refugees at Dadaab”.

Kenya Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary, Amina Mohamed  told reporters in Nairobi that the commission would help the three parties “discuss ideas” that will see a faster return of the refugees.

The formation of the commission, which is provided for in the tripartite agreement signed in September 2013, is a result of Ms Mohamed’s meeting with Somali Foreign Minister Abdusalam Omer and UNHCR Representative Raouf Mazou among other stakeholders in Nairobi.

Both the UNHCR and Somalia have argued that the pact should provide the guideline for voluntary repatriation of the more than 330,000 refugees.

But Kenya argues the 24-year-old camp, one of the largest in the world, should be closed as soon as possible because it harbours terrorist cells.

Some 2,060 refugees have been voluntarily returned through the tripartite agreement even though Kenya says another 50,000 went back on their own.

At least Sh9 billion is required to return all the 330,000 refugees to Somalia.

The parties say a conference will be held next month to pitch to donors the idea of a faster return.

Some donors like Germany, which last month gave Sh500 million for the programme, insist the return should be voluntary.