NAIROBI – Kenyan parliamentarians on Wednesday pledged dialogue with the international community to facilitate voluntary repatriation of Somali refugees.
Speaker of Kenyan Senate, Ekwe Ethuro said the east African nation would abide by international protocols to ensure repatriation of Somali refugees did not compromise their safety.
“The government has an obligation to respect international commitments as we embark on a process of repatriating Somalia refugees.
“We have commenced discussions with UN Refugee Agency to explore the best modality of returning these refugees to their homeland,’’ Ethuro told newsmen.
Ethuro said Kenya would abide by domestic and international legal instruments to facilitate smooth relocation of an estimated 350, 000 Somali refugees.
“The decision to repatriate Somalia refugees is based on the current national security threats we are facing.
“We need to protect our territory from infiltration by terrorists but the law must be followed,’’ Ethuro said.
He said that refugee camps located in Kenya’s northern frontiers have been infiltrated by terrorists.
The Kenyan government has vowed to fast-track repatriation of Somali refugees as part of a long-term war against terrorism.
Deputy President, William Ruto, said Kenya had given a three-month ultimatum to repatriate all Somali refugees in the country’s Dadaab refugee camp.
He also said Kenyan government would initiate forceful relocation of the refugees once the three- month deadline was over.
Officials from the UN Refugees agency earlier urged Kenya to reconsider the decision to relocate Somali refugees.
The agency said Kenya is signatory to the Geneva Convention that obligates countries to treat persons fleeing from war and persecution with dignity. (Xinhua/NAN)
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