The Kenyan government has agreed to form a tripartite commission that will be charged with overseeing the repatriation of Somali refugees at the Dadaab Camp.
On Tuesday, Kenya, Somalia and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said they had formally nominated four representatives each to a team to “expedite repatriation of refugees at Dadaab.”
Kenya’s Foreign Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed told reporters in Nairobi that the commission will help the three parties “discuss ideas” that will see a faster return of refugees to Somalia.
The formation of the Commission, which is provided for in the tripartite agreement signed in September 2013, is a result of a meeting with Somali Foreign Minister, Dr Abdusalam Omer, UNHCR representative Raouf Mazou among other stakeholders in Nairobi.
But it was also informed by recent announcement by the Kenyan government that Dadaab should be closed in 90 days.
Ms Mohamed declined to comment on whether the ‘repatriation’ would happen within the 3 month window announced earlier but hinted that the 90-day notice will be the “bottom line.”.
“We have agreed today that we are going to do everything in our power to expedite the repatriation of refugees….We have agreed that we will do it as quickly as possible. I don’t want to put any timelines on it because a lot will also depend on the resources available,” she said during a press conference at her office.
Signed in 2013, the tripartite pact between the two countries and the UN agency expires in September 2016. Both UNHCR and Somalia have argued that this agreement should guide the process of voluntary repatriation.