, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 10 – Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku says there is need for political goodwill in the repatriation exercise of refugees from the Dadaab amp.
Speaking during an African Union high level roundtable discussion on Monday, Lenku stated that this will ensure that a durable and long lasting solution is achieved in the exercise.
The move is part of the tripartite agreement signed between Kenya, Somalia and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on the repatriation.
“It is a fact that we have these refugee problems because of political differences and political conflicts and therefore without resolving them it is not possible to say goodbye to the displaced person or refugees,” the Interior Secretary said.
He further emphasised the need for the refugees to have an open mind and return to their country voluntarily since most parts have achieved peace.
“You are aware that a few months ago, we signed a tripartite agreement between the Federal Republic of Somalia, the UNHCR and Kenya. That process is on and the commission is now in place and a number of refugees from the camp have voluntarily gone home,” he stated.
Kenya, Somalia and the (UNHCR) are facing serious challenges in creating favourable conditions for Somali refugees in Kenya to voluntarily return home under the tripartite reached in November.
Currently, there are more than 500,000 registered Somali refugees in Kenya according to UNHCR, and many others are believed to be undocumented in Nairobi and other areas.
UNHCR has identified the Somali towns of Baidoa in Bay region, Luuq in Gedo and parts of Kismayu in Lower Jubba region as priority areas where it can assist refugees in voluntary returns.
The tripartite commission must identify opportunities to ensure refugees can return safely and live in relative peace, provide adequate resources for returnees to support themselves, and help to foster political stability in areas where refugees are seeking to return.