By GEOFFREY MOSOKU
Kenya: Kenya will host a major international conference in August to discuss on modalities of repatriating more than one million Somali refugees to their country.
The conference, which will be held in the second week of August, will be co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya, Somali and UNHCR with the International Organization for Immigration (IOM) being invited.
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed Monday revealed that a group of international organisations are already mapping out safe places for the refugees to resettle; saying the exercise will be conducted in the most humane manner.
Ambassador Amina said that currently there are over one million Somali refugees, of which 600,000 are formally registered.
She said that the organisations have already compiled documents and reports on the places of origin for the refugees, a half of whom he added crossed the border to Kenya in the last two years.
“What I am happy about is that 50 percent of these are willing to voluntarily return but we want to do it in an orderly and most humane manner which upholds the dignity to our visitors,” the minister said.
She was speaking at a Nairobi hotel where the ministry hosted a breakfast for envoys from Asian countries who are accredited to Nairobi.
Ambassador Amina took the opportunity to lobby the Asian countries to lender support to Kenya’s efforts of repatriating the refuges some who have called Kenya home in the last two decades.
“We are seeking your support in ensuring we have an appropriate level of support to enable them resettle peacefully in their homeland,” she told the ambassadors.
Somalia has been without a stable government for over twenty years now following the ousting of dictator Said Barre with Kenya bearing the brunt of its neighbors’ instability as refuges fled into the country.
Kakuma in Turkana and Daadab in Garissa refugee camps are some of the biggest in the region, hosting hundreds of thousands of Somalia and Sudan nationals. Another significant number of Somali refugees live in Nairobi.