Kenya promises “voluntary, dignified and safe” return of Somali refugees

Kenya’s commitment to abide by international law and allow the voluntary, dignified and safe repatriation of Somali refugees has been hailed by the UN Secretary-General.

Ban Ki-moon made the remarks to the press in Nairobi during the 14th UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Back in May, the Kenya Government announced plans to close Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp complex which hosts over 350,000 Somalis.

Jocelyne Sambira reports.

For almost a century, Kenya has been providing asylum to people from East Africa and the Horn forced to flee persecution and war.

Citing “economic, security and environmental burdens” the Government of Kenya announced on 6 May its decision to end the hosting of refugees.

It has already drawn up a timetable for people to leave Dadaab, which is mostly home to Somalis.

In a joint press conference with President Uhuru Kenyatta, the UN chief promised to step up support for the refugees in the Dadaab camp.

Mr Ban said he would follow up with donors who made financial pledges last October to help Somalis repatriate.

Meanwhile, refugees from South Sudan fleeing the latest outbreak of fighting have been arriving in the Kakuma camp in northwestern Kenya in large numbers.

Source: United Nations Radio