Appeal for Somali refugees in Horn of Africa and Yemen

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Somali refugees queue at a reception centre in Kenya. UNHCR is concerned about fresh violence in Somalia. © UNHCR/B.Bannon

The international community is being encouraged to continue its efforts to stabilize Somalia as a means to help resolve the "protracted situation" of refugees from the country.

The appeal has been made by the UN Refugee Agency's (UNHCR) Special Envoy for the Somali Refugee Situation, Ambassador Mohamed Abdi Affey, speaking in Geneva on Thursday.

Around one million Somalis are registered as refugees in the Horn of Africa and Yemen region, while an estimated 1.1 million people are displaced within the country.

Dianne Penn reports.

Mr Affey recently concluded a visit to camps hosting displaced Somalis in Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Yemen, as well as in Somalia.

He described their plight as a "protracted situation," lasting more than two decades since the collapse of the country's central government.

The Special Envoy was concerned that these people might be forgotten.

"I would like to use this press briefing to appeal to the international community first of all to continue to redouble efforts of stabilizing Somalia because these populations that are in camps are Somali populations required to reconstruct their own country but the situation of their country is such that there is no possibility now of massive return of Somalis back to the country because conditions are not yet fully in place to allow massive return of this population."

Mr Affey also spoke of a "very severe and serious" nutritional situation in the camps due to the longstanding nature of the refugee crisis coupled with donor fatigue.

He said he is encouraging a "regional conversation" aimed at finding a durable solution to the Somali refugee crisis.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1'14"

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