Somali President calls for any refugee returns from Dadaab to be carried out in an orderly manner

Refugees need to be assisted to return home in an orderly manner

DADAAB – UNHCR Kenya welcomed the President of the Federal Republic of Somalia H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in Dadaab refugee complex on June 6th. Senior Somali officials have visited Dadaab in the past but this was the first time for a Somali President to visit the complex which hosts some 344,000 refugees and asylum seekers – 95 per cent Somalis.

President Hassan Sheikh was accompanied by an official Somali delegation, officials from the Government of Kenya led by Interior Cabinet Secretary Major General (Rtd) Joseph Nkaissery, leaders from Garissa County and the UNHCR Kenya and Somalia Representatives.

After visiting school children at Hilaac Primary School in Ifo 2 Camp, he held talks with refugee leaders at Ifo 2 Hospital. The President thanked the Government of Kenya for its support in the region. He passed his message of gratitude to the people of Kenya for hosting Somali refugees for many years.

President Hassan Sheikh interacting with Hilaac Primary School children in Ifo 2 Camp. Photo UNHCR/ D.Mwancha

While urging the Government of Kenya and UNHCR to continue working under the framework of the Tripartite Agreement that was signed in 2013, he said his government will continue working with the Government of Kenya to assist refugees to return in conditions of safety and dignity. “Refugees will not be dumped in Somalia as has been reported in the media. They need to be assisted to return home in an orderly manner,” he said.

“Refugees will not be dumped in Somalia as has been reported in the media. They need to be assisted to return home in an orderly manner,”

The governments of Kenya and Somalia together with UNHCR signed a Tripartite Agreement in November 2013. Within its framework, the three parties have assisted some 14,027 Somali refugees to voluntarily return to Somalia since December 2014. In 2016 alone, some 7,930 Somalis have been assisted to voluntarily return home. These refugees are being assisted to return in conditions of safety and dignity, to areas in Somalia that have been assessed to be safe. The framework was put in place for an initial period of three years (up to September 2016), but it also provides for an extension for another period which should be agreed upon by the three parties.

Read the Voluntary Repatriation of Somalis from Kenya Analysis as of 27 May 2016 here.