5,000 refugees have gone back to Somalia

REPATR IAT ION PLAN: United Nations High Commissioner Ant?nio Guterres meets Somali refugees at the Ifo camp in Dadaab near the Kenya-Somalia border on May 8.



Nearly 5,000 Somali refugees from Kenya’s Dadaab camps have returned home since December last year, the UN refugee agency has said.

About 4,500 more have signed up to go back in the coming months, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said.

“They also receive a cash grant, food and basic domestic items such as sleeping mats, mosquito nets, solar lanterns, hygiene supplies and kitchen utensils to help them start a new life,” UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards told a press briefing in Geneva, Switzerland, on Saturday.

The agency said in an update, security and socio-economic conditions in many parts of Somalia are not right for large-scale returns of refugees.

However, some are eager to leave life in exile behind and help rebuild their country, it said.

“To end one of the world’s most complex refugee situations it is vital to make sure that the small number of returns can be successful and contribute to a more peaceful and stable Somalia,” Edwards said.

He added that more support and investment in the country’s social and economic infrastructure was urgently needed.

“While security remains a concern, the lack of equipped public schools and of job opportunities is cited by many as stopping them from going back,” Edwards said.

Foreign Affairs CS Amina Mohamed is expected to take part in a major pledging conference for Somalia refugees in Brussels, Belgium, this Wednesday.

UN High Commissioner António Guterres, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and the European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica will be at the conference.

Others will be Somalia Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke and other high-level delegations from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Yemen.

They will present a plan of action to prepare for the sustainable return of Somali refugees from the region to Somalia and to rebuild the areas of return.

The main focus will be on rebuilding the infrastructure, reinforcing law enforcement, education, water and sanitation, healthcare provision, shelter, agriculture and the creation of job opportunities to representatives of more than 30 donor countries and organizations.

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