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