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Somali Refugees (Kenya)

Volume 450: debated on Friday 20 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps are being taken by his Department to assist the Government of Kenya in helping refugees fleeing conflict in Somalia. (95070)

Since the beginning of 2006 it is estimated that 34,000 Somalis have sought refuge in Kenya, 14,000 of these since 1 September. This adds to an existing Somali refugee caseload of 160,000. Many of these new arrivals say they are seeking asylum in Kenya because of fear of new fighting in Somalia.

The Kenyan Government have continued in their worthy tradition of welcoming refugees. However the bulk of the support for the refugees in the camps where they are being sheltered will be provided by the international relief community. In order to seek resources for the additional requirements and for ongoing support ton the existing caseload of refugees, a UN humanitarian Flash Appeal for $35,272,035 was launched on Monday 15 October. The UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has already contributed $3,500,000. This has been split: $1,738,000 to the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the balance $1,762,000 to the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

The UK is the largest contributor to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) having contributed $69,928,000 out of the total of $267,281,225 donated so far. It is also a major supporter of UNHCR. As of 30 September this year we were its fifth largest bilateral donor of funds in 2006 with $45 million. The UK also supports UNHCR operations through its funding to the EC, and to the CERF.

The UK is also a major supporter of humanitarian operations in Somalia, where we have committed £17,088,534 since April 2005. The UK also continues to actively support the peace process, including the reconciliation process between the Islamic Courts and the Transitional Federal Government. The next talks are scheduled for the end of October, and the UK is calling on all sides to take the necessary steps to ensure a peaceful way forward.