We don’t want more refugees, says Juba­land as it stops flights

In­te­rior Min­is­ter Dar­wish says there are prob­lems to be re­solved first. ‘They had a good life in Dadaab. But here they are not get­ting any­thing’

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics - ADOW MO­HAMED @ad­owmo (+)

Repa­tri­a­tion of So­mali refugees from the Daadab camp has been sus­pended af­ter the Juba­land ad­min­is­tra­tion re­fused to re­set­tle re­turnees.

Flights to the So­mali cap­i­tal, Mogadishu, were sus­pended due to se­cu­rity con­cerns, af­ter al Shabaab staged sui­cide at­tacks in re­cent weeks.

On Au­gust 31, Juba­land, through its In­te­rior min­is­ter Mo­hamed Dar­wish, re­fused to re­ceive about 2,000 refugees, mainly women and chil­dren. Dar­wish cited in­ad­e­quate hu­man­i­tar­ian sup­port and “se­cu­rity risks” as the ba­sis of their de­ci­sion.

UNHCR Kenya Pub­lic In­for­ma­tion Unit of­fi­cer Duke Mwen­cha said af­ter ne­go­ti­a­tions, the semi-au­ton­o­mous re­gion al­lowed in the stranded refugees, but vowed to re­ceive no more.

The Star has learnt ef­forts by Kenya and the UN refugee agency to con­vince So­ma­lia to re­ceive more re­turnees have not been suc­cess­ful.

Mwen­cha said repa­tri­a­tion will re­sume once se­cu­rity in the des­ig­nated ar­eas, es­pe­cially in the cap­i­tal, im­proves. Many refugees have signed up to re­lo­cate to Juba­land due to its close prox­im­ity to the Kenyan bor­der.

The re­gions des­ig­nated to re­ceive the refugees are Baidoa, Bal-ad, Belet Weyne, Jowar, Kis­mayo, Luuq, and Mogadishu.

“The refugees are dumped in an open place. We can­not af­ford to keep them in this con­di­tion. Our main city Kis­mayu is full of repa­tri­ated refugees,” Dar­wish said.

“We opted to keep them at the tran­sit cen­tres at the bor­der un­til the sit­u­a­tion is im­proved. They had a good life in Dadaab. But here they are not get­ting any­thing.”

Last week, Hu­man Rights Watch said the repa­tri­a­tion pro­gramme is fu­elled by fear and mis­in­for­ma­tion and does not meet in­ter­na­tional stan­dards for vol­un­tary re­turn.

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