New tripartite agreement facilitates return of Somali refugees from KenyaListen /
Somali refugees in Kenya who wish to return to their homeland are the beneficiaries of an agreement signed on Sunday by a UN agency and the two countries.
The agreement between the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and the governments of Kenya and Somalia sets no timelines for returns but defines the roles and responsibilities of the three parties.
UNHCR representative in Kenya Raouf Mazouand says improved security in south-central Somalia has resulted in a stream of spontaneous returns to the country.
"The agreement makes reference to about three years, but not as a deadline for the return of all refugees. It's simply the time during which that agreement is going to be implemented. Everything will depend on the situation in Somalia: access to basic services in Somalia, access to livelihood, and security." (17″)
UNHCR says even though Kenya hosts one of the largest Somali refugee populations in the world, the agreement underlines the need to create conditions for voluntary, safe, and dignified return to Somalia.
Dianne Penn, United Nations.