The briefing document Dadaab to Somalia: Pushed back into peril by Medicins Sans Frontieres as well as the position paper Dadaab’s broken promise by Norwegian Refugee Council published this month have criticised the process of returning refugees to Somalia residing in the Dadaab refugee complex.
In May the Kenyan government decided to close Dadaab by November this year. The refugee camp hosts about 277,000 people making it the largest in the world. The returns process is officially organized according to the Tripartite Agreement between Kenya, Somalia and UNHCR, which established a framework for the return process based on international law.
The MSF document found that an overwhelming majority of the camp’s residents, 86 per cent are unwilling to return to Somalia, with 96 per cent stating that they consider Somalia “very unsafe.” In view of these figures, MSF questions whether “voluntary” repatriation is feasible at this point. The NRC report comes to the same conclusion stating that the returns process is “no longer being voluntary, safe or dignified.”
Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council urged: “The deadline to close the world’s largest refugee camp must be lifted.” MSF also calls on the Kenyan government to reconsider its decision until persons can return to Somalia safely. Beyond that, MSF urges the returns to be carried out in accordance to the Tripartite Agreement and to bring humanitarian assistance in Dadaab to an adequate level. The organisation also urges that UNHCR and donor countries should support Kenya in finding long term solutions.