Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Yemen — the five countries hosting Somali refugees — have been asked to speed up legislation to allow free movement, education and employment for the refugees.
That was the decision by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) ministers in charge of internal security who met in Kenya last week to take stock of the implementation of the Nairobi Action Plan on durable solutions for Somali refugees, developed in March last year.
The Nairobi Action Plan requires host countries to improve access to education for both refugees and host communities, promote self-reliance among refugees by creating opportunities for business in refugee hosting areas for the benefit of host communities.
So far, the Kenya government has a draft National Action Plan for refugees that has been shared with stakeholders for their input, while at the same time pursuing an appeal against a court order that last year declared the intention to close the Dadaab camp as unconstitutional and discriminative.
According to the Kenyan Chief Administrative Secretary in the ministry of interior, Patrick Ole Ntutu, the action plan will specify the required policy changes, investments and resources that are required to meet Kenya’s commitments to the Nairobi Action Plan.
“We will also align it with the country’s development plans including our Vision 2030 and the sustainable development goals. But for our objectives to come to fruition, financial support is crucial and the international community should also honour their pledges in the spirit of responsibility sharing,” said Mr Ntutu.
Despite efforts by the Somalia government to create a conducive environment for voluntary return supported by the international donors, the security situation has not improved forcing these countries to accommodate considerable number of returnees.