David Anderson – Committee Evidence SDIR 57

David Anderson
Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Saskatchewan
Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I want to thank our witnesses for all testifying before us this morning.

To the UNHCR, I have some questions about the repatriation program you’ve been participating in. The Kenyan government obviously wants to shut the camp down, and they’ve done everything they can to do that. The Supreme Court has intervened in that decision. But on repatriation, there’s been some suggestion…. I’m just going to lay out three points that have been made about the UNHCR.

The first point is that the participation in the tripartite agreement was basically a violation of the UN mandate requiring an adequate level of protection for returning refugees, which you did not provide. The second is that you did not provide adequate resources, either protection or resources, to returning refugees, which is another part of your mandate. The third point is that this was hardly voluntary, that coercion by both the Kenyan government and the UNHCR has basically forced people to go back to Somalia. The question is, how can there be voluntary repatriation when there is continuing war and conflict, when there are ration cuts in the camps and quotas and deadlines set, and cash payments to get people to leave the camp and go back in the midst of a situation where there was not only war but also a developing drought?

I’m just wondering if you can give a response to that question, please.