Kenya, UNHCR agree on refugee repatriation

Friday, April 30th, 2021 00:00 |
Cabinet Secretaries Fred Matiang’i (Interior) and Raychelle Omamo (Foreign Affairs) when they met UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi (centre) in Nairobi, yesterday. Kenya has formally communicated to UNHCR its decision to close Dadaab and Kakuma camps by June 30, 2022. Photo/COURTESY

Kenya and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) have agreed on a repatriation roadmap for refugees in Kakuma and Dadaab camps.

The roadmap includes provisions for voluntary safe return of refugees to their home nations, departures to third countries under various arrangements, and alternative stay options in Kenya for refugees from the East African Community member States.

Plan that will be implemented by a team of Government and UNHCR officials was agreed upon Thursday evening during a meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta and the visiting UN Refugee Agency’s High Commissioner Filippo Grandi who paid the Head of State a courtesy visit at State House, Nairobi.

At the meeting, also attended by Head of Public Service Dr Joseph Kinyua, and Cabinet Secretaries Raychelle Omamo (Foreign Affairs) and Fred Matiang’i (Interior), President Uhuru said Kenya is committed to finding a humane and sustainable solution to the refugee challenge in Kenya and the region.

The Government of Kenya and UNHCR agree that refugee camps are not a long- term solution to forced displacement and are committed to working together to find alternative solutions in line with responsibility sharing principles and goals of the Global Compact on Refugees. 

“I believe that the Government and people of Kenya will continue to show their generous hospitality towards refugees as they have done for nearly three decades, while we carry on discussions on a strategy to find the most durable, appropriate and rights-based solutions for refugees and asylum-seekers residing in the refugee camps in Dadaab and Kakuma”, said the UN High Commissioner. 

At a separate meeting, also at State House, the President met Mariam Alsadiaq Almahdi, a Special Envoy of Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. Almahdi, who is also his country’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, relayed a special message from Prime Minister Hamdok to President Uhuru.  -PSCU

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