The signing of the tripartite agreement also established the Tripartite Commission, which will oversee the implementation phase of the agreement and ensure that practical arrangements are implemented for the implementation of the terms of the agreement. The Commission will be composed of officials from all three parties. The agreement will also establish a tripartite commission to monitor the return movement through regular visits to camps, consultations with refugees and visits to areas of return. Earlier this week, the governments of Kenya and Somalia, as well as UNHCR, signed a tripartite agreement providing a legal framework for the voluntary repatriation of Somali refugees from Kenya and their reintegration into Somalia. According to UNHCR, more than 500,000 Somali refugees are currently in Kenya. The agreement, which will be in force for the next three years, gives Kenya the responsibility of simplifying immigration formalities and procedures and facilitating departure from the country. The Somali government should take administrative, judicial and security measures to ensure the return and reintegration of refugees without fear of harassment, intimidation, persecution, discrimination, prosecution or other sanctions. UNHCR will also be responsible for verifying the free and voluntary nature of decisions on the repatriation of refugees and for ensuring that repatriation is in accordance with national and international law. This tripartite agreement is an important step in creating the conditions for the safe, voluntary, dignified and sustainable return of Rohingya refugees. It is in line with the statement by the President of the Security Council of 6 November 2017 and the Security Council press release of 9 May. NGOs welcomed the agreement, but stressed that they hoped the three sides would understand that the current context in Somalia does not favour the mass return of refugees.
“Few pockets of Somalia are safe for return,” the NGOs said. France welcomes today`s agreement between the Burmese civilian government, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The Nigerian Minister of Interior thanked Cameroon and its people for welcoming Nigerian refugees and for the continued solidarity with those fleeing because of the Boko Haram insurgency. Cameroon`s Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization (MINATD) said that after the signing, the two countries would also have a significant need to focus on reducing poverty-affected areas and the lack of basic social services on both sides of the border. The two ministers also commended UNHCR`s efforts to assist Nigerian refugees in Cameroon`s Far North region. UNHCR`s representative in Cameroon, Mr. Kouassi Lazare Etien, reminded the audience that “the road ahead is still long, but that the signing of the agreement reveals the true desire of Cameroon and Nigeria to protect refugees by facilitating the process for those who want to return in safety and dignity with the support of UNHCR.”