UN refugee chief visits Kenya and Somalia to discuss future of Dadaab

“We reached a common understanding with the Presidents of Kenya and Somalia on three things,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres in Nairobi. “Firstly, the need to ensure return from Dadaab is voluntary and that it takes place in safety and dignity, and in accordance with the Tripartite Agreement; secondly, on cooperation to boost security in Dadaab; and thirdly, the expansion of additional areas for people to return to in Somalia.”Mr. Guterres expressed deep appreciation to President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta for his “courage and wisdom” in handling the refugee situation, even as emotions in the country run high following the attack on Garissa University. Shortly after that 2 April assault on the campus, for which Somali-based Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility and which reportedly left scores of people dead, the High Commissioner’s Office (UNHCR) urged Kenyan authorities to reconsider their decision to shut down within the next three months Dadaab refugee camp, which lies along Kenya’s border with Somalia. Following the recent visit, which wrapped up on 9 May, UNHCR said Mr. Kenyatta was committed to the aim of making return to Somalia an attractive and sustainable option for those in Kenya, while Mr. Guterres said he would mobilize the international community to boost security in Dadaab, where nearly 350,000 people are living.Mr. Guterres also met Somalia’s President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, as well as Prime Minister Sharmarke, in Mogadishu where the possible future return of Somali refugees in Kenya was also discussed. He also travelled to Kismayo, in south central Somalia, which is a key refugee return destination. There he met regional leader Ahmed Madobe and discussed scaling up the current voluntary return project and ensuring that returns are sustainable.To enable people to return, investment needed to be scaled up to improve socio-economic conditions for refugees, displaced people and local communities. Mr. Guterres said he would mobilize the international community to improve access to shelter, education, health and other basic services as create realistic livelihood opportunities.While in Kenya, the High Commissioner also visited Dadaab, camp where he met with local officials, refugees and host communities. He condemned the Garissa attack noting that the entire region has suffered the effects of terrorism and reiterated commitment to strengthen security in Dadaab. “It is in the interests of the international community to support the Government of Kenya to protect its citizens and the refugees it has so generously received,” he said. “I’ve seen babies who have been born from parents who have been born in Dadaab. This is not how we want people to live.”He noted that around 2,000 refugees had returned to Luuq, Baidoa and Kismayo in Somalia with the support of UNHCR since the Tripartite Agreement and he said improvements in basic conditions would help to boost those numbers exponentially. In the meantime, Mr. Guterres told refugees in Dadaab that he had received reassurance from the Kenyan Government that any future returns to Somalia would be fully voluntary and in line with the provisions of the Tripartite Agreement. “UNHCR and the Governments of Kenya and Somalia will organize an International Conference of Solidarity, to raise the required funding to multiply areas inside Somalia where capacity to receive returnees will be boosted through a portfolio of projects,” he said. read more

Lyra McKee Priest calls for new beginning in Northern Ireland as Theresa May

Jeremy Corbyn and Leo Varadkar arrive at the funeral of journalist Lyra McKee Crowds gathered as the funeral cortege arrived outside St Annes Cathedral in Belfast The coffin is carried into the funeral service of murdered journalist Lyra McKee at St Anne's Cathedral Theresa May, in between Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar (left) and President Michael Higgins, at the service Father Magill said he “dares to hope” that the tragedy can be “the doorway to a new beginning”.He also recalled speaking with Miss McKee as she researched her book The Lost Boys, about youngsters who had disappeared in the past, describing her as “like a dog with a bone” about the project.”I certainly experienced her gentle, determined doggedness,” he said.”I pray her work will be taken up and that their bodies will be found and, even more importantly, that there will be no more lost boys or lost girls.”When I consider Lyra’s determination, it strikes me that she was the embodiment of the St Gemma’s school motto: truth and charity.”Speaking ahead of her funeral, her mother Joan, brothers Gary and David, and sisters Joan Hunter, Nichola Corner and Mary Crossan paid tribute to her as “a best friend and confidante”. “This was no accident. There is nothing that can justify this murderous act and you are being called out for what you really are.” Lyra McKee's funeral will take place at St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast this afternoon Lyra McKee’s funeral will take place at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast this afternoonCredit:AFP Ms McKee’s funeral was intended to be a cross-community, cross-border and multi-cultural service.Those attending were asked to wear Harry Potter and Marvel Comic merchandise in tribute to the journalist’s love of both works.The New IRA admitted responsibility for the murder on Tuesday in a statement given to The Irish News.Using a recognised code word to authenticate the statement, the group offered “full and sincere apologies” to Ms McKee’s family and friends, claiming: “We have instructed our volunteers to take the utmost care in future when engaging the enemy, and put in place measures to help ensure this.” Miss McKee was killed during clashes with police and New IRA dissidents She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The war in Ireland is over, the conflict is over, the IRA arms have been destroyed or put beyond use.”We have a new democratic dispensation and it is so important we make that work, that institutions of government work.”She added: “They are a tiny, unrepresentative group that have no plan, that have no strategy.”If their alibi (for the killing of journalist Lyra McKee) is they are seeking to advance the cause of republicanism, they are very far off the mark.” Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald condemned the New IRA “unreservedly” following the statement. A priest has called on the murder of Lyra McKee to be “the doorway to a new beginning” for Northern Ireland, as it was claimed the journalist was planning to propose to her partner.Father Martin Magill said Miss McKee’s lasting legacy should be peace at her funeral earlier today in St Annes Cathedral attended by political leaders including Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn.Miss McKee, 29, was killed during clashes between police and New IRA dissidents on the Creggan estate in Londonderry, on April 18.Father Magill said: “I dare to hope that Lyra’s murder on Holy Thursday night can be the doorway to a new beginning. I detect a deep desire for this.””To those who had any part in her murder, I encourage you to reflect on Lyra McKee, journalist and writer, as a powerful example of ‘The pen is mightier than the sword’. Theresa May, in between Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar (left) and President Michael Higgins, at the serviceCredit:Brian Lawless/PA In a statement, the family said: “On Thursday 18th April our beautiful Lyra was taken from us.”A daughter, a sister, an aunt, a great-aunt, a partner, a niece, a cousin, and above all, a best friend and confidante to so many of us.”A friend to all, a gentle innocent soul who wouldn’t wish ill on anyone. Such a warm and innocent heart, she was the greatest listener, someone who had time for everyone.” Around 600 mourners were packed inside the cathredal, where Jeremy Corbyn was seen speaking to Leo Varadkar and Arlene Foster.Fellow journalists formed a guard of honour as the service began.Father Magill, addressing the congregation, urged the New IRA, a dissident republican group which apologised for Miss McKee’s murder, to walk away from violence.”To those still intent on violence, I ask you to listen to the majority of the people on your beloved island of Ireland who are calling on you to stop.” “I plead with you to take the road of non-violence to achieve your political ends.”Following the service, Miss McKee’s friend Stephen Lusty said she was planning to propose to her partner Sara Canning and showed her pictures of an engagement ring she had identified.Mr Lusty said: “She made me put a date in my diary for the wedding in Donegal in 2022 and gave me strict instructions to wear my kilt, which she always wanted to borrow, adorn it with some Harry Potter, and to find or re-find my own version of Sara.” DUP leader Arlene Foster and Sinn Fein leader Mary-Lou McDonald sat next to one another at the funeral Credit:Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye Mrs May represented the Government alongside Northern Ireland secretary Karen Bradley at St Anne’s Cathedral this afternoon. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was also present at the funeral.Other political leaders in attendance included Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and President Michael Higgins, as well as Arlene Foster, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party.The journalist’s funeral cortege arrived outside the cathedral for the 1pm service after passing a gay nightclub, where mourners stood with rainbow flags.Crowds gathered on the streets broke into applause as the cortege arrived.Mrs May spoke with Miss McKee’s partner Sara Canning and the rest of her family, including her mother Joan McKee, as she arrived at the funeral. DUP leader Arlene Foster and Sinn Fein leader Mary-Lou McDonald sat next to one another at the funeral  The New IRA admitted responsibility for Miss McKee's death following violent clashes in Londonderry Crowds gathered as the funeral cortege arrived outside St Annes Cathedral in BelfastCredit:Charles McQuillan/Getty Images Earlier today, Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn missed Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) as they travelled to Belfast to attend the funeral. The McKee family added: “She was a smart, strong-minded woman who believed passionately in inclusivity, justice and truth. The coffin is carried into the funeral service of murdered journalist Lyra McKee at St Anne’s CathedralCredit:Liam McBurney/PA Miss McKee was killed during clashes with police and New IRA dissidentsCredit:PA The New IRA admitted responsibility for Miss McKee’s death following violent clashes in LondonderryCredit:Niall Carson/PA Jeremy Corbyn and Leo Varadkar arrive at the funeral of journalist Lyra McKeeCredit:Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters “Lyra spoke to and made friends with anybody and everybody, no matter what their background, those of all political views and those with none. This openness, and her desire to bring people together, made her totally apolitical.”They said: “We would ask that Lyra’s life and her personal philosophy are used as an example to us all as we face this tragedy together.”Lyra’s answer would have been simple, the only way to overcome hatred and intolerance is with love, understanding and kindness.”Sara Canning, Ms McKee’s partner, said previously: “Our hopes and dreams and all of her amazing potential was snuffed out by this single barbaric act.” Northern Ireland secretary Karen Bradley rejected the New IRA’s apology in a statement to the House of Commons yesterday relating to the death of the Miss McKee.She said: “It remains the case across Northern Ireland that small numbers of dissident republican terrorists remain intent on killing.”What we have seen in the days since Lyra McKee’s death is that the communities that they claim to represent and seek to control don’t want them.”Ms Bradley later said: “To those responsible for this act of terrorism, we say we have heard your excuses and your hollow apologies. No-one buys it. The New IRA is an amalgam of armed groups opposed to the peace process and it recently claimed responsibility for parcel bombs sent to London and Glasgow in March.Police believe the violence was orchestrated in response to an earlier search by officers aimed at averting imminent trouble associated with the week’s anniversary of the Easter Rising. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more