Ambassador to assist UNHCR to maximize efforts in the search for solutions for nearly 1 million refugees and asylum seekers
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is pleased to announce the appointment of Mohamed Abdi Affey as Special Envoy on the Somali refugee situation.
Announcing the appointment, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Mr. Filippo Grandi said, “The path towards stability and prosperity in Somalia must include solutions for Somalis in exile through the region.” He added that the Special Envoy would assist UNHCR to maximize efforts in the search for solutions for Somali refugees and asylum seekers at national and regional levels.
Ambassador Affey brings with him extensive regional experience, notably through his previous function as the Special Envoy to Somalia for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). He also previously served as Kenya’s Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Kenya’s Ambassador to Somalia.
The Somali refugee situation is one of the most protracted in the world, spanning over two decades and affecting three generations. There are nearly one million Somali refugees in Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Yemen, and approximately 1.2 million Somalis displaced within Somalia.
The Special Envoy will strive to enhance dialogue between the Governments of asylum countries, the Federal Government of Somalia and the international community, to renew efforts to find durable solutions for Somali refugees, while ensuring that asylum is preserved for those in continued need of international protection.
“I look forward to building upon the excellent work that has already been done, and tackling the many challenges that remain, with partners, the Governments of Somalia and in the region. This will also entail close dialogue with regional institutions such as the IGAD, the AU, AMISOM, UNSOM and, indeed, the refugee communities,” Ambassador Affey said.
Ambassador Affey will also support efforts to mobilise humanitarian and development resources for the reintegration of Somali returnees in a manner consistent with the Government of Somalia’s national development plans and regional priorities.
Ambassador Affey will be based in Nairobi and will travel extensively within the region, including to Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Uganda and Yemen. He will work in close coordination with UNHCR’s Regional Bureau Director for Africa, and his efforts will complement and support, at the regional level, those of UNHCR in the concerned countries.