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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

DADAAB (Xinhua) -- Somali refugee children study in a school in Dadaab refugee camp as a group of Somali refugees wait to verifiy their documents before being repatriated to Somalia in Dadaab refugee camp, Kenya, Dec. 19, 2017. The UN refugee agency said Monday it has repatriated some 74,141 Somali refugees from Kenya as at Nov. 15 since the voluntary return exercise began three years ago.  XINHUA PHOTO: LI BAISHUN
UNHCR repatriates 74,141 Somali refugees from Kenya

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The UN refugee agency said Monday it has repatriated some 74,141 Somali refugees from Kenya as at Nov. 15 since the voluntary return exercise began three years ago.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in its bi-weekly update released in Nairobi that some 32, 478 refugees were supported to return to their home in Somalia in 2017 alone.

The UN refugee said a total of 71,792 individuals from Dadaab refugee camp in northeast Kenya had been assisted in the framework of voluntary return to Somalia since the launch of voluntary repatriation on December 8, 2014.

“As at Nov. 15, there were 18,140 refugees registered in our database willing to return to Somalia, with 12,874 being registered in 2017 alone,” the UN agency said.

The UNHCR also confirmed the resumption of voluntary return by road was cleared by the Kenyan government, however due to heavy rains, roads are not passable on the Somalia side.

According to the UN agency, a total of 4,949 non-Somali refugees were relocated to Kakuma refugee camp in northwest Kenya. “The relocation is currently suspended due to the limited absorption capacity and services in Kalobeyei,” it said.

Kenya, which hosted protracted negotiations that culminated in the formation of the transitional federal government of Somalia, says the refugee situation continues to pose security threats to Nairobi and the region apart from the humanitarian crisis.

The East African nation which has been planning to close the Dadaab refugee camp, has cited the influence of terror group Al-Shabaab as among the risks of keeping the camps open.

 

 
  NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filipo Grandi addresses journalists in Nairobi, Dec. 20, 2017. The UN refugee agency on Wednesday appealed to donors for more funding to facilitate safe return of refugees back to Somalia. XINHUA PHOTO: CHARLES ONYANGO

An estimated two million Somalis have been displaced in one of the world’s most protracted humanitarian crises that have now entered its third decade. 

An estimated 1.1 million people are internally displaced (IDPs) within Somalia and nearly 900,000 are refugees in the region.

Experts say continuing political and security stabilization progress in Somalia, along with growing pressures in hosting countries, makes this a critical moment to renew efforts to find durable solutions for Somali refugees.

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