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Danish agency backs repatriation of Somali refugees

12 November 2013, 17:12

Nairobi - The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) has welcomed a tripartite agreement inked on Sunday, saying it has a potential to enhance opportunities for voluntary return for Somali refugees from Kenya.

In a statement issued in Nairobi on Tuesday, the global organization called for patience from hosting governments, while expressing confidence that the tripartite agreement can increase the possibility of finding durable solutions for the Somali refugees.

"Patience is still needed from hosting governments, in this case Kenya, as developments towards a return environment where legal, material and physical safety for returnees need to take firm root," said the DRC's Deputy Regional Director Rikke Johannesen.

Johannesen said it was important that governments talk about durable solutions in a situation that has been protracted for decades.

"Somalia, however, is still a country at war. Only few pockets in the country is safe, and in Mogadishu alone, you have more than 200,000 internally displaced people basically living in the streets," he added.

The UN refugee agency UNHCR, Kenya and the Somali government signed the agreement to ensure Somali refugees in Kenya could return to their homeland.

Up to 80,000 Somali refugees have spontaneously returned to south-central Somalia since January, according to some reports.

A tripartite commission will be established to oversee the implementation of its provisions.

Kenya is hosting about 500,000 Somali refugees, the majority of whom are in the large Dadaab refugee camps in the northeast of the country.

- Xinhua


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