Kenya pledges support to UNHCR Special Envoy for the Somali refugee situation

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery welcome Ambassador Affey's appointment as Special Envoy


Kenya. Somali children share bicycle in Ifo 2 camp

Somali refugee children share one bicycle in Dadaab's Ifo 2 Camp.  © UNHCR/Silja Ostermann

NAIROBI (UNHCR) – Kenyan president, H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, yesterday welcomed Ambassador Mohamed Affey’s appointment as UNHCR Special Envoy for the Somali refugee situation and assured him of his support. Ambassador Affey paid a courtesy call on the president at State House, Nairobi. He was accompanied by UNHCR’s Representative in Kenya, Mr. Raouf Mazou,

Ambassador Affey thanked the president and the people of Kenya for the warm hospitality accorded to the Somali refugees. Kenya hosts 36% of some 1.1 million Somali refugees currently in asylum in different countries in the Horn of Africa.

Earlier in the week, Ambassador Affey also paid a courtesy call on the Cabinet Secretary for Internal Security, Major Gen. (Rtd.) Joseph Nkaissery. The Cabinet Secretary congratulated Ambassador Affey for his appointment and commended the High Commissioner for the prudent decision given the Envoy’s wide regional experience on issues of peace and humanitarian affairs. He assured the Special Envoy of Kenya’s support to his mandate.

Ambassador Affey then visited the Dadaab refugee complex, where the majority of Somali refugees in Kenya reside. He met separately with local authorities, host community leaders, humanitarian partners and Somali refugees.

The Special Envoy conveyed that his mandate is to push for durable and comprehensive solutions for the Somalis who have sought refuge in Ethiopia, Djibouti, Uganda, Yemen and Kenya.  “This is not a situation for Kenya alone, it’s for the region,” he said.  “We, therefore need a regional conversation, as well as a Somali conversation”.

The refugees shared concerns about the fate of Dadaab camp, and expressed gratitude to the Kenyan Government for the asylum space accorded to them.  They appealed to the Special Envoy push for more funding from donors.

The Special Envoy’s visit to Dadaab is part of a familiarization tour of the countries hosting Somali refugees. Next he will travel to Uganda, then Ethiopia.

- END -