8 April 2017

East Africa: May Conference On Somalia to Ease Kenya's Refugee Burden

Kenya's burden of protecting Somali refugees for over two decades will now be addressed at the International Conference on Somalia to be held in London on May 11.

The conference will discuss the establishment of the Inter-Agency Trust Fund to not only help in the overall stabilisation of Somalia to allow voluntary return of the refugee, but also to ease the burden of the five countries hosting over 900,000 Somalia refugees --Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Uganda and Yemen.

This follows the resolutions at the Special Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) Summit held in Nairobi on March 25 that the issue of Somalia refugees needs a concerted regional approach with a strong financial support from the international community.

"The conference will give us the opportunity to sell the idea that funds for helping Somali refugees should be put in one basket and also serve as a pledging session. The good thing is that the region has agreed to speak with one voice moving forward," said Brazille Musumba, the communications and media advisor at the Igad Secretariat based in Djibouti.

The main purpose of the May conference is to mobilise resources to help the new Somali government of President Mohammed Abdullahi Farmajo, deal with security infrastructure and basic social services as part of a New Partnership Agreement between Somalia and the international community to defeat Al Shabaab.

The conference will also address the issue of Somali refugees in Kenya (324,000) Ethiopia (245,000) Yemen (255,000), Uganda (41,000) and 13,000 in Djibouti.The Kenya government had threatened to repatriate the 260,000 Somali refugees in Dadaaab Camp by May on grounds that the camp has become a breeding ground for Al Shabaab militants and that the country has been left to bear the burden of protecting refugees for over two decades.

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