, NEW YORK, USA, Sep 19 – How would Kenya rate the response of the world in dealing with the refugee and migrant crisis across the globe?
A fiasco because “86 percent of the world’s 22 million forced migrants and refugees are hosted by 10 developing countries,” according to Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto.
Only eight countries currently host more than half the world’s refugees: Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon, Iran, Ethiopia, Jordan, Uganda and Kenya.
“Nothing can better demonstrate the failure of international burden-sharing than this reality. It is also an indictment on the global framework for responding to human distress,” DP Ruto told a gathering at the UN General Assembly in New York Monday.
He recalled that in May this year a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey made a solemn commitment “to leave no one behind” but unfortunately even after that “people have continued to be displaced under duress, turned back, dehumanised and subjected to extreme existential threats.”
This, DP Ruto said, clearly reflects a huge gap between the resolve and meaningful action to prevent and manage forced migration.
He however expressed hope that convening of the 6 Round Table discussions on large-scale movements of refugees and migrants, will galvanise action that translates into positive impact on the lives of the affected populations.
Kenya has for instance hosted refugees and asylum seekers from tens of countries, with the largest number coming from Somalia for close to three decades.
This situation, DP Ruto told the global meet, has exposed Kenya to peculiar challenges with the areas hosting refugees becoming conduits of illegal imports.
“More recently, the Dadaab Refugee complex has lost its humanitarian character and been appropriated by terrorists and their agents, transforming it into a center of radicalisation, terrorist training, planning and launching of attacks. It is also a hub for illicit movements of small arms and light weapons.”
Four years a ago, Kenya sought the intervention of the world due to the unsustainability of the refugee camp, and Sh50 billion was pledged to ease the disproportionate burden.
“Sadly, less than 1 percent of this commitment has been realised,” DP Ruto told the meeting.
It was stemming from Kenya’s concerns that the government opted to shut down Dadaab and repatriate the refugees within the Framework of the 2013 Tripartite Agreement.
But DP Ruto admits the repatriation process is complex and requires commonality with the Somali people.
“We believe that the opportunity for the reconstruction of Somalia lies in the return of its people. Furthermore, the solution to protracted refugee situations demands that the root causes of violence and conflict are addressed. I therefore, urge support for reconstruction efforts in Somalia and support for AMISOM, which is playing a critical role in Somalia’s stabilisation and guaranteeing the safe return of its people,” DP Ruto who is representing President Uhuru Kenyatta at the 71st UN General Assembly urged.
This first-ever summit on refugees and migrants will witness world leaders adopt a political declaration.
During negotiations leading up to the summit, a proposal by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to resettle 10 percent of the global refugee population was dropped from the non-binding draft declaration.
The 193 UN member-states will agree to meet the targets set by the UN refugee agency, which is advocating for the resettlement of five percent of the global refugee population.
Six of the world’s richest countries – the United States, China, Japan, Britain, Germany and France – hosted only 1.8 million refugees last year, just seven percent of the world total, according to research by the British charity Oxfam.