(Xinhua) -- The UN refugee agency said Thursday it has repatriated
some 59,829 Somali refugees in Kenya since the return exercise began in December
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR) said in its bi-weekly update released in Nairobi that some 3,786
refugees were supported to return to their homes in Somalia in the past two
“Currently, 21,940 refugees are
actively registered for voluntary repatriation,” UNHCR said.
The move comes after a regional summit
of East African leaders agreed on March 25 to facilitate the voluntary return of
Somali refugees but the UNHCR immediately announced it would not back the
returns to a country facing threats of severe famine.
The leaders of the Intergovernmental
Authority on Development (IGAD) resolved to support the Nairobi Comprehensive
Plan of Action for Durable Solutions for Somali Refugees and a separate plan for
regional response to the refugee crisis meant to assist Somalia to survive the
ongoing drought and looming famine.
The leaders, who met in Nairobi for
the Special Summit of IGAD, the first such meeting of its kind on the Somali
refugee crisis, agreed they would create an enabling environment for safe,
sustainable and voluntary return and reintegration of Somali refugees.
In its latest report, UNHCR said road
convoys were organized from Dadaab in northeast Kenya to Southern Somalia’s
Dhobley respectively on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
“Flights to Mogadishu have resumed on
Feb. 27 after a long suspension due to security restrictions in Mogadishu
since December 2016,” UNHCR said.
More than 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
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.