Members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has urged Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to reconsider the repatriation of Somalia refugees saying the move could jeopardize regional peace and security.
The UN Security Council delegation led by Egyptian Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Abdellatif Aboulatta told journalists in Nairobi that Kenya and the international community will partner to find durable solutions to the humanitarian crises in Somalia.
“During our meeting with President Kenyatta and his cabinet, we discussed terrorism and refugee issues. We also shared our concerns over closure of Dadaab refugee camp that hosts Somalia refugees,” said Aboulatta.
Kenya last week announced plans to close Dadaab refugee camp, the world’s largest human settlement sheltering more than 350,000 refugees from Somalia.
Aboulatta said the international community shared Kenya’s security concerns due to infiltration into refugee camps by terrorists but urged the East African nation to abide by global instruments on respect for people displaced by conflicts.
“Our position is that refugee crisis is a shared burden and closure of Dadaab refugee camp may not be the best decision,” said Aboulatta, adding the international community will assist Kenya combat terrorism.
Kenya’s Interior ministry has already set up a 14-member taskforce, the National Taskforce on Repatriation of Refugees, whose role is to develop modalities, timelines and costs for the repatriation of refugees in Kenya.
The taskforce has also been tasked with developing refugee management and control strategies during the period of repatriation as well as developing a verification criterion for refugees that will feed into a comprehensive database.