14,000 Kenyans who had registered themselves as refugees delisted by UNHCR

Daadab Refugee Camp
Daadab Refugee Camp. [Photo: Amnesty International Kenya]

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) will delist 14,000 Kenyans who had registered themselves as refugees from its database.

The 14,000 Kenyans according to Hussein Dado, the Chief Administrative Secretary in the Interior Ministry sought to benefit from opportunities that arise for refugees courtesy of UNHCR.

The government has been conducting an elaborate vetting of all registered refugees and has managed to rein in on thousands who “double registered”, Dado said in Garissa.

The vetting started in November 2019. The aim was to weed out imposters and give genuine refugees Kenyan identity cards by March 2021.

UNHCR enlisted the support of chiefs, elders, military and other intelligence sources for the vetting. This has made it full-proof in sieving out genuine refugees.

The process was suspended following the outbreak of COVID-19 in March but much of it had been completed.

The refugee vetting came after the UN refugee agency began plans to close part of the vast Daadab Refugee Camp which was home to an estimated 600,000 refugees most of them from neighbouring Somalia.

Following UNHCR’s move, scores of refugees voluntarily left the camp back to Somalia under voluntary refugee repatriation.

Leaders and locals expressed satisfaction with vetting exercise by UNHCR saying that it will allow many people to move freely and also get employment.

“Every household in this region has someone who has his data captured by UNHCR. So many people especially the youth have suffered a lot. They cannot secure employment, their right of movement is curtailed,” Dadaab MP Mohamed Dahiye said.

Ijara Constituency MP Sophia Abdinoor said what should follow is another round of vetting.

She said that this is a major achievement for President Uhuru Kenyatta as he seeks to address refugee problems and open up all sectors of the economy to job seekers.