Kenya, Somalia term as misleading reports by human rights groups on refugee repatriation

The Kenyan and Somali governments have moved to dispel reports by a section of human rights groups, particularly the Human Rights Watch, about the ongoing refugee repatriation process as being full of disinformation.

In a joint communiqué released on Saturday by the Interior Ministry, the two governments said the Somali government is appreciative of efforts to humanely repatriate Somalia refugees back home.

The communiqué further said that the two governments have also appealed to donors to honour their pledges and support the repatriation process particularly in regards to basic services such as housing education and health.

The signing of the communiqué followed a meeting in Nairobi between the Kenyan and Somalia governments and the UNHCR on Thursday.

The meeting assessed the efforts of the National Multi-Agency Refugee Repatriation Team, (NMARRT) the Somalia Technical Committee (STC) and UNHCR in the repatriation and re-reintegration of Somali refugees since the exercise kicked off in May last year.

The communiqué sought to clarify that so far, 13,604 refugees have voluntarily returned home in Somalia from Kenya’s Dadaad and Kakuma refugee camps, while 439 have been resettled to third countries.

It however said that 2000 refugees are still held up at the transit centres in Dagahaley and Hagadera camps in Dadaab following challenges faced by Somalia in processing the returnees and ensure sustainable re-integration.

In this regard, the meeting agreed that additional exit and entry points would possibly be opened up at Mandera and Belet-hawa to speed up the repatriation process

The communiqué further said that Kenya, Somalia and UNHCR will be holding regular monthly meetings to assess the repatriation process.

It said the next meeting will be held in Kisimayo after the UN High Level meeting on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants and the Leaders Summit on Refugees in New York and UNHCR EXCOM in Geneva.

Source:- The Star

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