Kenya: 66 Ethiopian Refugees Back Home From Kenya in Voluntary Repatriation

Nairobi — The United Nations refugees agency has launched a voluntary repatriation programme, to facilitate refugees in Kenya willing to return t their homes.

On Wednesday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said 66 Ethiopian refugees flew back to their homes from Dadaab.

"UNHCR has launched voluntary repatriation flights from Dadaab to Ethiopia where 66 refugees were assisted to return home," UNHCR said and pledged to "continue to support refugees willing to go back to their home countries in safety and dignity."

Welcome home! 🇪🇹

66 Ethiopian children, women and men have just arrived in Dire Dawa, voluntarily returning home after having spent years as #refugees in Kenya.

The returnees are received and supported by UNHCR & @Ethrefugee @Tesfahun_GK @UNHCR_Kenya UNHCR Ethiopia (@UNHCREthiopia) May 5, 2021

The move follows an agreement between the agency and the Kenya Government which announced plans to close the Dadaab an Kakuma camps in Northern Kenya.

The agreement was reached during a meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi who was in Nairobi last week.

"The two discussed issues surrounding refugees and asylum seekers in the region, as well as received a briefing on the status of Kakuma and Dadaab refugees' camps," State Houe said after the meeting.

Grandi said he "believes that the Government and people of Kenya will continue to show their generous hospitality towards refugees as they have done for nearly three decades, while we carry on discussions on a strategy to find the most durable, appropriate and rights-based solutions for refugees and asylum-seekers residing in the refugee camps in Dadaab and Kakuma."

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi said Kenya hopes to complete the closure of the camos by June 2022.

The two camps have more than 450,000 refugees, mostly from Somalia. The others are from Ethiopia and South Sudan.

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