Friday October 16, 2020


UNHCR set up the first camps in the Dadaab complex in 1991 to host up to 90,000 people. © UNHCR/B.Bannon

Thousands of Kenyans who registered themselves as refugees will be removed from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) database.

Speaking in Garissa town, Interior Chief Administrative Secretary Hussein Dado said at least 14,000 Kenyans had registered themselves as refugees to enable them to benefit from opportunities offered by the UN refugee agency.

Dado said the suspects have been successfully vetted and will undergo other stringent processes before they are issued with Kenyan ID cards.

The vetting of double registered people was launched in November last year with the government promising that genuine Kenyans who registered as refugees will be issued with ID cards by March.

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Victims have been struggling to shed refugee tags as they have been denied opportunities and citizenship rights including freedom of movement, right to vote, own a business or get formal employment.

While trying to have fingerprints removed from the UN Refugee Agency(UNHCR) database, locals have fallen victims of cartels who have been demanding substantial amounts as bribe without any success.

However, the process was halted following the outbreak of Covid-19.

“The vetting itself was so stringent and involved elders, chiefs, Military, intelligence. We have no doubt that those vetted are genuine Kenyans,” Dado said.

The UN started closing down the vast Dadaab camps home to more than 600,000 refugees, majority of them from Somalia but the number has drastically come down following voluntary repatriation of the refugees.

It is estimated that the number could less than 300,000.

Local leaders who attended the function termed the move as a milestone for the Jubilee government.

“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 Member of Parliament Sophia Abdinoor asked the government to conduct another round of vetting to consider those who missed the opportunity.

“Today we celebrate the big way announcement that individuals have successfully been betted, as leaders we really appreciate President Uhuru Government for intervening,” she said.

The function was attended by other leaders among them Garissa Deputy Governor Abdi Dagane, MPs Mohamed Hire (Lagdera) and Mohamed Sheikh Omar (Wajir South).

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