Kenya: We’re Not Avoiding Refugee Repatriation, Says Somalia

Published: September 17, 2014

THE Somali government has denied it boycotted meetings to discuss the delayed process of repatriating at least half a million refugees. Somalia Ambassador Ali Nur said they participated in all meetings they “were aware of”.

Kenya has claimed that Somalia failed to attend meetings convened to launch a tripartite commission meant to steer the process. Nur said during the said meetings, he was in Canada for medical treatment.

“As a government we never boycotted any meeting to discuss refugees. But then, if we were aware of such meetings, my deputy was around,” he said.

“It was the Somalia government which initiated the process of repatriation of refugees and the issue that we lack the political will towards the process should not arise.”

Nur said the government preferred the launch of the commission in Mogadishu. Sources at Kenya’s Foreign Affairs ministry said the event could not take place there due to security concerns.

Nur said the issue of unsafe destinations for returnees in Somalia is a concern for Somalia and the UN refugee agency. He said the process is at an advanced stage. Department of Refugee Affairs acting commissioner Harun Komen said financial impediment is a major setback towards the process.

He said DRA officials will be dispatched to the Amuma in Garissa county, Mandera and Liboi in Wajir exit points to facilitate safe passage for refugees willing to go home voluntarily.

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