Kenya is forc­ing refugees to re­turn to So­ma­lia – Oslo NGO re­port

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics Ministries -

Repa­tri­a­tion of So­mali refugees from Dadaab is no longer vol­un­tary, dig­ni­fied or safe and has failed to meet in­ter­na­tional stan­dards, a re­port has said.

The re­port by the Oslo-based Nor­we­gian Refugee Coun­cil said refugees feel trapped fol­low­ing the Kenyan gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to close the camps by the end of Novem­ber.

In an eight-page re­port ti­tled “Dadaab’s bro­ken prom­ise: A call to re­in­state vol­un­tary, safe and dig­ni­fied re­turns for the Dadaab refugee com­mu­nity”, the re­port says Kenya’s “sud­den” an­nounce­ment to shut the camps led to “chaotic and dis­or­gan­ised re­turns of vul­ner­a­ble refugees”.

The re­ports states that 74 per cent of refugees in Dadaab said in August they are not will­ing to re­turn yet be­cause they fear in­se­cu­rity in their home coun­try.

“From what we have seen on the ground, it is no longer vol­un­tary, dig­ni­fied nor safe,” NRC sec­re­tary gen­eral Jan Ege­land said yes­ter­day.

“The cur­rent repa­tri­a­tion pro­gramme does not meet in­ter­na­tional stan­dards for vol­un­tary refugee re­turn,” he said.

Ege­land said the “im­pos­si­ble dead­line” to close the Dadaab camps in Novem­ber and the sub­se­quent dis­band­ment of the Depart­ment of Refugee Af­fairs, charged with over­see­ing the process un­der the tri­par­tite agree­ment, has led to fear, panic and chaos among the refugees. “Refugees in Dadaab need in­ter­na­tional pro­tec­tion. The Kenyan gov­ern­ment and the UN refugee agency should re­in­state the or­gan­ised and vol­un­tary process of re­turn,” Ege­land said.

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