, NEW YORK, US, Sep 19 – Some 100,000 Somalia refugees have been processed and documented ready to go back home in the ongoing voluntary repatriation, according to Deputy President William Ruto.
Ruto told a roundtable meeting at the ongoing UN General Assembly in New York that out of this number, 27,000 have returned to Somalia.
“We believe that the opportunity for the reconstruction of Somalia lies in the return of its people. Furthermore, the solution to protracted refugee situations demand that the root causes of violence and conflict are addressed,” he said.
He urged support for reconstruction of Somalia and AMISOM, which he said is playing a critical role in stabilising the war-torn nation and safeguarding the safe return of its people.
Ruto said Kenya has deployed $10 million dollars in new money to repatriate the refugees.
He asked the international community to collaborate with the Government of Somalia in the reconstruction and restoration of critical services in order to support repatriation and resettlement.
He spoke as world leaders came together at the United Nations General Assembly to adopt the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, which expresses the political will of world leaders to protect the rights of refugees and migrants, to save lives and share responsibility for large movements on a global scale.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commented: “Today’s Summit represents a breakthrough in our collective efforts to address the challenges of human mobility.”
He said the adoption of the New York Declaration will mean that “more children can attend school; more workers can securely seek jobs abroad, instead of being at the mercy of criminal smugglers, and more people will have real choices about whether to move once we end conflict, sustain peace and increase opportunities at home.”
Peter Thomson, President of the UN General Assembly said: “I will take forward the commitment of the membership to begin a process leading to a global compact on migration, as well as to support a global compact on refugees.”
Declaration, Member States are making bold commitments including: to start negotiations leading to an international conference and the adoption of a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration in 2018; to develop guidelines on the treatment of migrants in vulnerable situations; to achieve a more equitable sharing of the burden and responsibility for hosting and supporting the world’s refugees by adopting a global compact on refugees in 2018.
As called for in the Declaration, the Secretary-General also launched a new campaign called “Together – Respect, Safety and Dignity for All” to “respond to rising xenophobia and turn fear into hope”.
He urged “world leaders to join this campaign and commit together to upholding the rights and dignity of everyone forced by circumstance to flee their homes in search of a better life.”