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Published On: Fri, Aug 2nd, 2013

Kenya Wants Somali Refugees to Go Home, but UN Urges Caution

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DADAAB, KENYA — The Kenyan government is in talks with Somalia over the repatriation of Somali refugees living in the world’s largest refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya. But insecurity at the camp has put pressure on Kenya to relocate its residents, while instability in Somalia remains a concern for those thinking of returning home. The camp in northern Kenya shelters more a quarter of a million refugees, and most have been there for more than two decades.

The Kenyan government is growing increasingly concerned about accommodating such a large refugee population and about security issues.

Since last December, Kenya has been working to relocate Somali refugees back to Somalia.

But Somali refugee youth leader Abdifatah Ibrahim wants the government to reconsider its stand because of insecurity in the region.

“The repatriation process should be halted ’till negotiations are done and peace prevails in Juba valley so apparently we cannot allow ourselves to give consent to going back to southern Somalia,” says Ibrahim.

Kenya says it is working closely with Somali authorities to relocate refugees.

In June, Kenyan government spokesman Muthui Kariuki said it is in Somalia’s interest to take back its own people.

“It’s a question of a government talking to another government: ‘we are ready now to take back our people, can we have them?’ And what our government is telling the Somali people: ‘you have not seen any movement of those people, get ready to go back to your country, your country is free now.’”

Kenya’s High Court has ruled against a plan to round up refugees in cities and send them back to the camps, a blow to the government’s relocation plans.

No ‘stable country to go back to’

Still, Kenya is pursuing ways to return the refugees to Somalia, a move opposed by some refugees like Ahmed Ibrahim.

“The people who requested the return of refugees don’t understand the state of these refugees. We don’t have a stable country to go back to,” said Ibrahim.

The United Nations has also expressed concerns about repatriation UNHCR chief Antonio Guterres recently urged the government to respect the rights of refugees.

“The process of repatriation of Somali refugees to Somalia needs to abide by international law and to meet international standards and those standards are that it needs to be voluntary and it needs to be in safety and dignity,” he said.

Before any refugees return home, however, the United Nations Refugee Agency says conditions in Somalia first have to improve.

 Source: VOA

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  1. Buuxiye says:

    Shabab will have NEW recruits if the 600,000 Dadaab refugees are forced to return to Muuqdishu. Muuqdishu itself is home to 1.4million IDPS with no where to go stretched between Muuqdishu across the Afgoye corridor.

    Dadaab is like Heaven compared to Muuqdishu. The Idps face constant abuse and harassment from the police and SNA in addition they are at mercy of the 20,000 Amisom troops as they are victims to mass exploitation.

    A good option would be for Kenyan forces to expand their mandate in Jubaland and create a secure environment for the 600,000 IDPs and relocate them to Kismanyo.

  2. American boy says:

    These southerners are weak minded fools, go back to your country and build it back up and fix your "insecure" problems like the Somalilanders did! Shacabka are supposed to run there country

  3. mohamed cheers says:

    Dadaab Somali refugees have been in the AL-SOMAL NFD Region of Kenya since
    the collapse and defunct of the last functioning Military Govt of SDR in 1991.
    Since then there has not been a strong functioning Govt in the failed Sovereign State
    of Somalia upto this day and age 2013. By international law standards these Somalia
    Refugees and their families have been in Kenya over more than two decades and being in
    AL-Somal NFD Regions of Kenya, should by now qualify for permanent Nationality of
    Al-Somal NFD territory and became true Kenyans. The AU HQs in addis Ababa should
    come up with more human rights like the Western developed world.
    Cheers.

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