More than two million Somalis have been displaced in one of the world’s most protracted humanitarian crises that has now entered its third decade. An estimated 1.1 million people are internally displaced within Somalia and nearly 900,000 are refugees in the region with estimates of over 324,000 in Kenya; 245,000 in Ethiopia; 255,000 in Yemen ; 41,000 in Uganda; and 13,000 in Djibouti. I salute the IGAD member states, and Yemen, for the exceptional generosity they have extended to Somali refugees in their greatest time of need. Without exception, they have shown exemplary compassion, allowing women, men and children who had nowhere else to go, to seek refuge on their territories.
Notwithstanding their own monumental needs, Somalia’s neighbours have generously kept their borders open, provided refugees with security and protection, and unfailingly shared meagre resources like land, water and firewood. We must not forget that in Somalia the impact of war, terrorism and sometimes famine has been devastating. Today, there are encouraging signs of progress towards improving the situation in Somalia. On the political front, there is new hope following the recent elections. The new president enjoys massive support and greater legitimacy than any other president in the past 25 years. As Somalia moves into a new phase, other stabilisation achievements are discernible. Security is a case in point. Several IGAD member states Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda have contributed troops that are working with the Somali national security forces to increase security throughout the country.
It is important, also, to acknowledge ongoing voluntary repatriation movements, albeit on a very small scale, from mostly Djibouti, Kenya and Yemen. It must be emphasised that refugees who choose to return to Somalia are provided with detailed information about the places they are returning to, and that they do so voluntarily.
Source : The Eastafrican