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International Community has not kept its pledge on refugee repatriation, Kenya’s FM

Storyline:National News, World

Kenya’s foreign affairs minister Amina Mohamed has accused the international community of failing to support Kenya in dealing with the refugee situation forcing it to order closure of the refugee camps.

Speaking in the sidelines of an African Union Ministerial Retreat, Mohamed said international support had not been adequate and that the international community had reneged on its earlier pledges.

Kenya Friday announced it was closing the department of refugee affairs as its first step in ultimately closing the camps. The country’s Interior Principal Secretary Kibicho Karanja said the government had arrived as the decision following security concerns and financial constraints.

Mohamed noted maintaining the facility was too costly.

“Running the department was too costly for the country; some developed countries in the world cannot host even 10,000 refugees, while we at one time gave a home to a million people. This is national resources, tax payer’s money,” said Mohamed.

Kenya hosts upwards of 600,000 refugees most of whom are from Somalia and South Sudan.

Somalia, Kenya and refugee agency, UNHCR signed a tripartite agreement in 2013 to voluntarily repatriate over 450,000 Somali refugees in Dadaab camp in northern Kenya.

Mohamed noted however noted some of the agreements have not been adhered to adding refugee hosting is not the responsibility alone.

“Burden sharing is very critical in this matter. Hosting refugees is not Kenya’s sole responsibility, not even a regional one, but a global and international obligation. Everyone in the world has a role to ensure the well-being of these people,” said Mohamed.

Responding to a query Saturday, UNHCR Kenya said it had not been officially notified of the intention to close the camps by Kenya.

It said the repatriation process is still ongoing and that UNHCR has since December 2014 supported the repatriation of 13,532 Somalis, 7,160 of them having been assisted in 2016.