NAIROBI, Kenya, May 13 – The Government has gazetted a taskforce that will steer the repatriation exercise of refugees living in Dadaab.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery says the taskforce will first come up with a timetable on how execution of the repatriation process will be carried out before the end of May.
“As a result of insecurity created by existence of refugee camps, Kenya suffers the brunt of negative consequences such as travel advisories and poor humanitarian rating with obvious negative consequences to the country’s economy,” he said.
“Some of these attacks were aimed at the interests of our international partners yet Kenya continues to bear the brunt of these attacks on their behalf with negligible support from them.”
To kick-start the repatriation process and subsequent closure of Dadaab Refugee Complex, the Government has already set aside Sh1 billion.
According to the gazette notice, the taskforce will develop modalities, timelines and costs for the repatriation of refugees in Kenya, develop refugee management and control strategies during the period of repatriation.
They will also develop verification criteria for refugees that will feed into a comprehensive refugee database and a plan for the provision of security during the repatriation process.
“They will also develop a sensitization programme for refugee host communities on the repatriation exercise as well examine and recommend appropriate legal and policy framework to enable repatriation in light of existing laws and conventions,” the CS said.
The team is also mandated to identify emerging international practices in refugee management in the context of national security considerations.
The taskforce is headed by Joseph W Irungu as Chairperson and the members include, Maj Gen (Rtd.) Dr Gordon Kihalangwa, Dr Martin Kimani, Dr. Richard E. Ndubai, Amb. Mohamud A. Saleh and Reuben M. Kimotho.
Others include Brig. George O. Walwa, Catherine Bunyassi, Catherine B. Mogaka, Boniface Maingi, Naman N. Owuor and Haron C. Komen.
The drastic decision has sparked outrage from the international community, with the United Nations warning of what it described as ‘devastating consequences.’
“Refugee camps are not permanent settlements, they are not migration centres, and yet this seems to be what refugee camps in Kenya have been turned into,” the CS stated.