NAIROBI, Kenya – At the invitation of H.E. Ambassador (Dr) Amina Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kenya, the Tripartite Commission for the Voluntary Repatriation of Somali Refugees living in Kenya met in Nairobi on 25 June 2016 to discuss the modalities of the repatriation process of Somali refugees to Somalia in the context of the Government of Kenya’s decision to close the Dadaab camps.
The meeting was attended by H.E. (Dr.) Abdusalam Hadliyeh Omer, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Investment Promotion of the Federal Republic of Somalia, and H.E. Mr. Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
The meeting took note of the resolution by H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya, and H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, on the need for orderly, humane and dignified repatriation of the Somali refugees back to Somalia as per the Tripartite Agreement Governing the Voluntary Repatriation of Somali Refugees living in Kenya.
The Commission directed the Tripartite Technical Committee to conclude concrete operational modalities and support measures which will be provided in Kenya and Somalia to ensure the safe, dignified, voluntary return and sustainable reintegration of Somali refugees from Kenya. In doing so, the Parties reaffirmed their commitment to working within the framework of the Tripartite Agreement.
Having considered the Report of the National TaskForce on Repatriation of Refugees from the Dadaab Refugee Complex, the Somali Proposed Scheme for Somali Returnees from Dadaab and the elements of the UNHCR Plan of Action, the Parties noted the prospect of the reduction of the population in the Dadaab camps by 150,000 individuals by the end of 2016, as a result of voluntary returns to Somalia, relocation of non-Somali refugees, the de-registration of Kenyan citizens who registered as refugees, and a population verification exercise. The return and reintegration process, which has seen the return of more than 16,000 Somali refugees to date, will be implemented with the continued support of the Governments of both the Republic of Kenya and the Federal Republic of Somalia and partners. Over and above this, the Parties noted that at the end of May 2016, the number of Somali refugees registered in Dadaab had decreased to 326,000, a reduction of over 100,000 individuals in the past five years, many of whom are believed to have spontaneously returned to Somalia.
Recognizing the challenges related to the repatriation and reintegration of returnees into Somalia, the Commission noted that sustainable reintegration requires a holistic and community-based approach that would improveabsorption capacity and enhanced access to basic services and self-reliance for returnees, internally displaced persons and local communities in Somalia. In addition to enhanced individual returnee packages, community-driven Quick Impact Projects targeting rehabilitation and the extension of basic services and infrastructure will be implemented in synergy with ongoing humanitarian and development actions.
The Tripartite Commission also recognized the need for similar initiatives to strengthen the resilience of impacted host communities in Kenya; the need for Quick Impact Projects to ensure livelihoods are not adversely impacted; and to undertake environmental restoration.
The Commission committed to actively engage various bilateral and multilateral development partners to raise necessary funds and resources to facilitate the repatriation and restoration programmes. A specific reference was made to the potential role of IGAD in facilitating the provision of international development aid to Somalia and in supporting regional approaches to the Somali refugee crisis.
The Tripartite Commission members agreed to meet in October 2016 to review progress made on the voluntary repatriation of Somali refugees from Kenya.