Kenya vows continued refugee support amid budgetary constraints

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-20 20:53:35|Editor: ying
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by Christine Lagat

Nairobi, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Kenya will not waver in its commitment to provide a safe haven for refugees from neighboring countries, a senior official said Tuesday during an event to mark World Refugee Day.

Cabinet Secretary for Interior Joseph Nkaissery said Kenya will abide by international treaties on refugee protection amid budgetary constraints linked to dwindling external support.

"Our support for refugees' welfare remains firm despite socio-economic challenges that are hobbling efforts to provide a new lifeline to displaced people globally," Nkaissery said, adding that Kenya has prioritized provision of security, education and health services to refugees living in the country.

Senior government officials, diplomats and humanitarian actors attended the event to mark the 2017 World Refugee Day whose theme was "We stand together with Refugees".

Nkaissery said the theme resonated with Kenya's quest to offer a safe landing to populations displaced by conflicts and natural disasters in the East and Horn of African region.

"Kenya will continue offering protection to refugees and will invest in livelihood projects that benefit them directly. We will also engage our partners to address conflicts that trigger forced migration," said Nkaissery.

Kenya hosts an estimated 500,000 refugees from strife-torn neighboring countries including Somalia and South Sudan.

The East African nation in March hosted a regional summit where it reiterated its commitment to shelter forced migrants.

Nkaissery clarified that Kenya will rally behind humane and voluntary repatriation of Somalia refugees in line with an agreement signed with Mogadishu and the UN refugee agency three years ago.

"We have always supported voluntary repatriation of refugees and so far, 72,000 Somalia refugees have returned home while a good majority have expressed desire to return home. However,this process has been carried out in a humane manner," said Nkaissery.

He urged the international community to scale up support for refugees escaping new conflicts in the region.