Dear KANERE readers,
This is the last issue of the recently concluded year 2013, but there are still very many stories and news around the camp within the Turkana country that were left untold. Of course, we may not be able to accomplish everything and human resources are highly needed to help the refugee media to achieve its objectives.
However, we are continually making changes to improve refugee reporting in an open, transparent and free expression in comparison to humanitarian desired reporting on refugee protection and service deliveries in encampment. We will strive hard to remain vibrant in 2014.
In this issue we welcome a contribution from Brett Shadle, an Associate Professor of African History at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA. His contribution focuses on refugee rights violations under warehousing, questioning whether the refugees have the right to know about the impacts of decision making on their futures and life as they live in limbo!
We are tapping into the human aspect on the escalating deadly violence within the Turkana country that claimed at least 25 lives between the two rival communities of Turkana and Pokot in the fall of last year. The two nomadic groups often clash over cattle rustling and boundary disputes.
KANERE has interviewed a large number of Somali refugees on the community talking point: “What do you think about the Somali repatriation?” Their perspectives constitute a range of public opinion!
In Kakuma 1 camp settlement, a family mourns after their residential house burst into flames killing three children last December, that left unforgettable sad memories for many residents. In line with humanitarian best practices, the Refugee Consortium of Kenya (RCK) organized legal awareness forums in the season of the 16 Days of Gender Activism throughout Kakuma. The RCK’s legal awareness training was mostly welcomed as it was found meaningful by refugee communities in terms of their pro bono legal advice for refugees in the camp.
Moreover, the Refugee Status Determination (RSD) process has slowly been taken over from the UN Refugee Agency – UNHCR by the Kenyan Government through the Department of Refugee Affairs (DRA), which has assumed full responsibility for the RSD process in Kakuma refugee camp. In 1991, in unclear circumstances, UNHCR was given the responsibility of conducting the RSD on behalf of the Kenyan government. However after many decades of UNHCR performing the vital role of the state, the refugees and asylum seekers are unclear about UNHCR’s accountability! Have they failed the refugees?
On press freedom, one alarming incident was recorded over the year where a Kanere reporter was assaulted and his cell phone crushed by an NGO local guard as he photographed an event in September 2013. The matter was reported to the police and justice is waiting to be done on the case.
On behalf of all the members of KANERE team, I take this opportunity to wish you a Happy New Year 2014 with more peace and freedom.
We love to hear your feedback,
Qaabata Boru – Kanere Editorial Executive
“We could not establish the cause of the fire and had no knowledge why the kid’s mother had tied her son in chains except that the boy had mental problems,”
- local security guard told Kanere/ “House fire killed three children”
“We have already taken over the full responsibility for the RSD process from the UNHCR,”
- DRA official in Kakuma office disclosed/ “RSD Transition”
“These forums will target largely the new arrivals among others to enlighten them on the laws as per the Refugee Act, their rights and obligations,”
- Martin Pepela – Programme manager RCK Kakuma – told Kanere/ “RCK’s Legal Awareness Forums”
“I was born in Kenya (Malindi) but my parents came from Kismayo. I am living with nine members of my family in Kakuma. I have never been to Somalia and all I know is about Kenya but despite the fact of owning a nationality by virtue of birth I don’t have a Kenyan Citizenship. The repatriation of Somalis could be premature. The country is not safe or stable. It might have improved by 50% but it’s not the right time to return refugees into that war-torn place. I think the refugee leaders should be allowed to go and see and return mission to understand current situation of peace in Somalia. Therefore, while life in exile is unpredictable the Somali refugees should not be forced to return to Somalia,”
- Ahmed Yusuf, a student at Bor-town secondary school/ “Community Talking Points: Somali repatriation”
“Most of the locals have guns because the two counties share porous borders with Uganda and S. Sudan where they import the firearms from,”
- a North Pokot government official said in a comment/ “Pokot militia besiege Turkana villages”
“Refugee communities tremendously thanked your advocacy role and provision to accompany and protect refugee rights in Kenya,”
- a Congolese Zone 3 refugee leader recognized/ “RCK’s Legal Awareness Forums”
“I ran out of my house due to huge smoke and I saw the house was burning from its roof,”
- Mohamed Qarnole/ “House fire killed three children”
“My habitual residence was in Gedo before I fled to Kenya in 2000. The peace in Somalia is still in the hand of the terrorist groups, thus I can’t go back now. The solution would be to make the ground safer for the returnees. People should be able to have access to social needs such as the rights to education, health care and food security. Therefore the International community should facilitate a better structured security for the returnees. You should not just decided to throw people like stones into the desert and watch them dying shamelessly. It may not add value to humanity,”
- M. Said, a social worker with LWF/ “Community Talking Points: Somali repatriation”
The Refugee Status Determination (RSD) process is in transition from the UN Refugee Agency – UNHCR – to the Kenyan government. (more…)
The Refugee Consortium of Kenya (RCK) organized legal awareness forums in the season of the 16 Days of Gender Activism in Kakuma. (more…)
A Somali family mourn after their house burst into flames killing three children. (more…)
KANERE talks to members of the Somali communities: young, old and cultured. “What do you think about the Somali Repatriation?” The refugees share their views. Their perspectives show the diversity of public opinion. (more…)
Do refugees have the right to know about the impacts of decision making on their futures, lives as they live in limbo? (more…)
The fight between Pokot and Turkana tribes continues to escalate amid government efforts to curb the situation. (more…)
Dear Kanere community here & abroad,
Foremost, it’s with great enthusiasm that we announce that Kakuma News Reflector (or KANERE) has obtained its registration status as a national Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Kenya. KANERE strongly welcomes further collaboration from all the Government Departments within Turkana County, the Department of Refugee Affairs, the UNHCR Head of Sub-Office and other humanitarian agencies in Kakuma.
Currently, Kanere is being published on quarterly basis until better funding is available for a monthly or a more regular publication. In this issue, we discuss different patterns of news and incidents that took place inside and outside the refugee camp that affected the refugees in Kenya.
In the camp, some sad news concerned the inter-communal conflicts which persisted inside the camp. In the month of September inter-communal fights escalated between Nuer and Gambella-Anyuak where more than twenty people sustained injuries. However, in the middle of this year at least eight people were killed in the similar violence in the camp, a story featured in this edition.
Food rations were reduced, while since October collection of food in every distribution in Kakuma and Dadaab Complex has been based on an online fingerprinting system. This move has caused instability and alarm to the beneficiaries of food aid. According to the refugee communities, the introduction of “No match no food” in the bio-metric food collection system was largely opposed, but the World Food Program (WFP) stated that the move was to enhance transparency and accountability in food distribution and monitoring.
In the Kenyan capital Nairobi, the Westgate terror attack had negative implications for refugees. The Kenya security machinery had to crack down in Kenya’s metropolis and major cities in the hunt for possible culprits, leading to arbitrary arrest and detentions of innocent refugees.
Following this insecurity, pressure has mounted in Kenya to close refugee camps and to return all Somali refugees to Mogadishu. The Governments of Kenya and Somalia have since worked closely with the UNHCR, establishing a Tripartite Commission on Standards and Procedures of voluntary repatriation for Somalis that was signed in Nairobi on Sunday 10 November, 2013.
However, since the Tripartite Commission was set up, xenophobia against Somali refugees has been on the rise both in camps and urban areas.
Nonetheless, the first (2010) Cohort to study in the Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins online learning program received their Diplomas in Liberal Studies at a graduation ceremony at the Arrupe learning center.
On the international scene, Italy declared a national day of mourning after a boat packed with African migrants caught fire and sank off the island of Lampedusa, killing at least 300 people in October alone.
As an independent refugee media organization, Kanere seeks support and welcomes funding and material support from the UNHCR and any interested donors, either local or at the international level.
Have a wonderful day,
Editorial Executive – Kanere
“The return of Somali refugees must be voluntary, conducted in safety and dignity.”
- The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Mr. Guterres told Kenyan officials/ “Somali Repatriation”
“We call upon the members of the community to maintain peace, it is unfortunate a child was involved whenever fights broke out,”
- said an LWF peace building official/ “Inter-communal conflicts”
“I was arrested together with 20 others, we had documents but police wish to verify all identification papers,”
- a Somali woman told Kanere in an interview/ “Refugees are not Terrorists”
“Kenya is a fair country in terms of refugee protection and to KANERE, the services we offered are pro bono,”
- said Advocate Rahma Jillo/ “KANERE – Registered as an NGO”
“The needs assessment was conducted in 2009 and the first intake in liberal studies was in 2010 where 27 students were able to graduate,”
- Elizabeth Lock, JC-HEM Coordinator, JRS Kakuma/ “Diploma Graduation Ceremony”
“There are 15,000 persons who have not reported to collect food rations, meaning these individuals are not in the camp,”
- a UNHCR official commented in a statement at FDC 3 in the Camp/ “Classified Finger Printing”
“Id is a great day. We should be sharing whatever we have with the most vulnerable and needy members of the community,”
- urged a Sheikh at a mosque in Kakuma 1/ “Muslims Mark Id-Ul-Adha”
“There’re many courses offered online, after three years, it becomes real to accomplish. Despite a lot of burning heat, I made it here”
- Said Ahmed Biwaye, one of the graduates/ “Diploma Graduation Ceremony”
“Surrounded with atrocities, harshness and hardship in the line of war, killing fellow human beings breaks my heart,”
- A Former Sudanese War Child was quoted at a Concert in the Camp/ “Emmanuel Jal’s visit to Kakuma”
“There are 160 Nuer which outnumbered only 20 Murle arrested in masses but released after strong warnings,”
- said a government official commented/ “Inter-communal conflicts”
“I felt humiliated in the cell, I was not given time to speak out before being released with a fine of Kshs 6,000,”
- A tired and hungry sheik told Kanere/ “Refugees are not Terrorists”
“Kanere News is a platform that does not only cover the refugee issues but includes the marginalized host communities of Turkana. It’s an initiative to be funded equally,”
- said a Turkana District information officer/ “KANERE – Registered as an NGO”
“We’re not ready to go back to Mogadishu, our community is not prepared for it either, it’s not yet safe,”
- M. Gabo a Somali refugee told Kanere/ “Somali Repatriation”
“The refugees felt insecure and harassed to have to present their fingerprints to collect the rations,”
- a refugee zonal leader told Kanere/ “Classified Finger Printing”
Kakuma News Reflector (KANERE) has obtained its registration with the government as a national NGO in Kenya (more…)