European Union gives Sh5bn to move Somalia refugee from Dadaab camp

Somali refugees at a market in Dadaab, Garissa County. The European Union has announced new funding worth €50 million (Sh5 billion) to support the resettlement of Somali refugees from the Dadaab Refugee camp. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Kenya, Somalia and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in 2013 reached a tripartite agreement for the voluntary return of these refugees to Somalia by the end of 2016.
  • The UNHCR argues Somalia is still insecure and there are still insufficient social amenities to accommodate all of them.
  • The European Commission Thursday announced 16 programmes will target more than just refugees, in a bid to stem the increasing number of migrants going to Europe.
  • The money the EU announced Thursday is part of a pledge made in October when it hosted a pledging conference on Somali refugees.

The European Union has announced new funding worth €50 million (Sh5 billion) to support the resettlement of Somali refugees from the Dadaab Refugee camp.

A programme released by the European Commission shows that refugees staying at the Dadaab camp situated in Garissa County will benefit from a significant amount of money allocated in a plan the EU says is meant to address instability in the Horn of Africa.

“This project aims to support the management of the voluntary return of Somalis hosted in Kenya, as well as other parts of the region and Europe.

“It aims to create a favourable environment for return and reintegration, including through economic and social development, increased access to basic services, economic opportunities, and improved peaceful coexistence of both returnees and return communities,” the commission said in a statement.

The money to be released from January 2016 is part of a set of 16 programmes worth €300 million the European Union says will help address “the root causes of irregular migration and displacement, and to increase the positive impact of migration” mainly in the Horn of Africa.

Dadaab currently hosts about 335,000 Somali refugees though there are about 420,000 of them in Kenya.

VOLUNTARY RETURN

Kenya, Somalia and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in 2013 reached a tripartite agreement for the voluntary return of these refugees to Somalia by the end of 2016.

But the three would require about Sh10 billion to completely resettle the inhabitants of the world’s largest refugee camp.

Since the agreement, just about 5,000 refugees have been resettled in Somalia.

The UNHCR argues Somalia is still insecure and there are still insufficient social amenities to accommodate all of them.

On Thursday, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Mr Neven Mimica said the pledge is part of an effort to address “forced displacement through concrete action.”

The money the EU announced Thursday is part of a pledge made in October when it hosted a pledging conference on Somali refugees.

At the time, Kenya and Somalia had hoped to raise Sh50 billion to resettle all Somali refugees living in Kenya.

But the more than 40 countries and organisations meeting in Belgium only managed to pledge $105 million (€94 million) towards the plan.

This means that only about 135,000 refugees could be relocated from January 2016 to December 2017. The tripartite agreement expires in September 2016.

The European Commission Thursday announced 16 programmes will target more than just refugees, in a bid to stem the increasing number of migrants going to Europe.

HORN OF AFRICA

The EC said they will give 40 million for supporting Horn of Africa countries such as Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya “to manage migration and, in particular, to fight against the trafficking of human beings and smuggling of migrants.

A further 67 million will go to help create employment opportunities and “better livelihoods in particular areas of Ethiopia which are the origin of migratory flows.”

According to a recent State Department report on human trafficking, Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia are on tier 2 for failing to make serious efforts to deal with the problem.

Djibouti are still on the watch list while conflict-hit South Sudan and Somalia are in tier 3 which means little is being done there to combat human trafficking.

The European Commission will also be giving 14.3 million towards South Sudanese refugees in host communities of Uganda or creating favourable conditions for their return by supporting the implementation of the peace agreement in South Sudan (77.6 million).

In addition, part of these programmes will involve a research kitty of about Sh410 million to ensure “evidence is collected, disseminated and used amongst African partners.”

The projects, a result of a meeting in November between the EU and Horn of Africa, under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa will be implemented jointly by the EC, EU members and African partners.

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