Kenya, UNHCR agree on refugee repatriation roadmap

Kenya indicated its move to close the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps by the end of June 2022.

In Summary

•On March 23, Kenya told UNHCR to announce a plan for the closure of the Dadaab and Kakuma refugees' camp within two weeks.

•Reacting to the move to close the camps, Amnesty International Kenya said the ultimatum has recreated the fear that the principle of non-refoulment may be violated for the 500,000 refugees currently hosted by Kenya.

President Uhuru Kenyatta meeting UNHCR officials at State House./PSCU
President Uhuru Kenyatta meeting UNHCR officials at State House./PSCU

Kenya and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees have agreed on a repatriation roadmap for refugees in Kakuma and Dadaab camps.

The roadmap includes provisions for voluntary safe return of refugees to their home nations, departures to third countries under various arrangements, and alternative stay options in Kenya for refugees from the East African Community member states.

The plan that will be implemented by a team of Government and UNHCR officials was agreed upon Thursday evening during a meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta and the visiting UN Refugee Agency's High Commissioner Filippo Grandi who paid the Head of State a courtesy visit at State House, Nairobi.

At the meeting, also attended by Head of Public Service Dr Joseph Kinyua, and Cabinet Secretaries Amb Raychelle Omamo (Foreign Affairs) and Dr Fred Matiang’i (Interior), Uhuru said Kenya is committed to finding a humane and sustainable solution to the refugee challenge in Kenya and the region.

At a separate meeting, also at State House Nairobi, Uhuru met Mariam Alsadiaq Almahdi, a Special Envoy of Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

Almahdi, who is also her country's Minister for Foreign Affairs, delivered a special message from Prime Minister Hamdok to President Kenyatta.

Kenya indicated its move to close the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps by the end of June 2022.

Kenya made its formal communication regarding the closure of the camps to the UN Refugee Agency.

Matiang’i said that repatriation of refugees to countries of origin and socioeconomic integration of some of them through Work/Residence Permits is among the roadmap that the government will undertake to ensure that the mission is successful.

On March 23, Kenya told UNHCR to announce a plan for the closure of the Dadaab and Kakuma refugees' camp within two weeks.

Reacting to the move to close the camps, Amnesty International Kenya said the ultimatum has recreated the fear that the principle of non-refoulment may be violated for the 500,000 refugees currently hosted by Kenya.