By: Beth Nyaga/citizentv
Somalilandsun – Under a Tripartite Agreement, signed on Sunday by the United Nations Refugee Agency and the governments of Kenya and Somalia, nearly half a million registered Somali refugees in Kenya will get support when they return to their homeland.
The Tripartite Agreement has adopted an incremental approach to repatriation, starting with the provision of support to refugees who return on their own, leading to formal returns organized by UNHCR whenever conditions are right.
The agreement also acknowledges the need for continued protection of Somali refugees in Kenya, and the need for other durable solutions to their plight,” said Raouf Mazou, UNHCR’s representative in Kenya.
“It’s very important to underline that no one is forcing Somalis to leave Kenya,” said Mazou.
The agreement establishes a legal framework and other support for Somali refugees in Kenya who might eventually wish to return to their homeland.
The agreement also defines the roles and responsibilities of the three parties in accordance with international standards.
In the five camps that make up the Dadaab refugee camp complex in north-eastern Kenya, there are more than 388,000 Somali refugees.
There are 54,000 Somali refugees in Kakuma camp in north-western Kenya and 32,500 living in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, for a precise total of 474,483.
UN High Commissioner António Guterres, on a visit to Somalia earlier this year, acknowledged that Somali refugees are already returning home by themselves to areas they deem safe.
The government and people of Kenya have tirelessly provided protection and assistance to Somali refugees for two decades.
The agreement signed on Sunday does not mean Kenya is no longer willing to do so.