Kenya’s plan to send refugees back to Somalia suffers setback

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Kenya’s plans to repatriate refugees living in Somali have suffered a major setback after more than 40 countries meeting in Brussels, Belgium, reportedly failed to pledge the funds needed for the cause.

Kenya and Somalia need at least $500 million for the repatriation exercise.

The Brussels conference last week only pledged $105 million, just about a fifth of the projected amount required.

The two countries are working together with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to oversee the program of the voluntary return of refugees to Somalia, called the ‘Plan of Action’.

“The over 100 million (dollars) pledged so far is considered a good beginning and it is hoped that it will serve to attract other funding soon. Therefore, we believe the amount pledged out of the total request will not impact negatively on the planned repatriation,” Mr Gamal Hassan, Somalia’s ambassador to Nairobi told the Nation.

The European Union (EU), which hosted the conference, committed €60 million “to support creation of sustainable solutions for Somali refugees in Somalia and in the region”.

€50 million from this amount will be directed towards reintegrating the refugees and the internally displaced people in Somalia by providing schools, clinics and social centres in addition to giving returnees tokens for their livelihoods.

The remaining amount will be used for supporting Kenyan communities near the Daadab refugee camp and providing relief for refugees in vulnerable situations.

The conference comes one year before the expiry of the Tripartite Agreement signed between Kenya, Somalia and the UNHCR in 2013 to encourage refugees to go back home voluntarily.

It is feared the deal will expire without fulfilling its intended purpose.

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