GENEVA (Halbeeg News) – Somali Minister for Foreign Affairs on Wednesday met the head of UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Mr. Filippo Grandi in Geneva, Switzerland.
The two leaders discussed the voluntary repatriation of Somali refugees in Kenya, Yemen, and Libya.
According to a statement, the sides agreed to accelerate aid assistance for the Somali refugees who stranded in those countries before the repatriation process kicks off.
The meeting was also attended by several other Somali government officials.
UN refugee agency in July said it helped over 800 Somalis to be repatriated from four countries.
“During the period under review (July), 825 Somali refugees returned from Kenya (655), Yemen (141), Tunisia (28) and Ukraine (one),” the UN agency said.
Over 819,000 Somalis are living outside their county as asylum-seekers and refugees. The majority (767,500) live in neighbouring countries of Ethiopia (256,000), Kenya (255,500) and Yemen (256,000).
In June 2018, UNHCR recorded 35,622 Somalis who returned from Yemen spontaneously, out of whom 186 returned in June (1,446 in 2018).
UNHCR said it assisted 83,669 refugees to return to Somalia in safety and dignity from nine different countries of asylum.
In the first half of this year, 6,932 Somali refugees have repatriated, representing eight per cent of the total refugees who have repatriated. The majority returned from Kenya (79 per cent), followed by Yemen (17 per cent), Libya (three per cent) and some from other countries of asylum.
Since the beginning of the voluntary return programme, on 8 December 2014, 83,669 Somalis have repatriated to Somalia, according to the agency.