To our esteemed readers here and abroad,
On the 22nd of December 2012, KANERE celebrated its 4th year anniversary. On this important occasion, Kanere looks back on different security threats suffered by staffs imposed by camp authority, reporting difficulties and lack of operational funding over years delaying publications for months.
Since KANERE started several camp developments took positive effect. The paper fosters the involvement of civil society in a situation where the camp authorities never wish to allow free flow of information. We therefore inform authorities in refugee protection once again, that the existence of Independent refugee media is necessary to any open and democratic society including refugee camps. The UNHCR and other humanitarian operations, had only to suggest the use of force to suppress reporters due to the politicized camp structure where compromise jeopardizes the safety and protection of true refugee journalists.
In the regional news, a literally named “Little Mogadishu” in Nairobi has experienced several grenade explosions with many lives lost in the month of December alone. This has caused the Kenyan government to call on all refugees to move to camps with immediate effect and threatening to withdraw all aid to refugees living in urban areas. By mid December there have been arbitrary arrests of refugees residing in areas of Eastleigh, Nairobi. Is this an appropriate response to security concerns? Kanere appeals against this move, as it’s discriminatory and a violation of freedom of movement.
In Turkana District several incidents of cattle rustling were reported frequently between Turkana herders and Pokot raiders. To curb the rustling menace government has started a disarmament operation in west Pokot among other districts in the region.
On Wednesday 24th October, Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser Al-Missned of Qatar and Antonio Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees made a visit to Kakuma. The purpose of the visit was for the Sheikha to familiarize herself with refugee education in this camp in connection with the Educate a Child Initiative which she is launching in collaboration with UNHCR.
On 26th October, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration, H.E. Anne Richard, visited Kakuma as part of her mission to Kenya. Refugee leaders were able to make the case that half of the camp residents would need resettlement abroad as a durable solution for protracted displacement.
In this edition numerous accounts of sexual violence have persisted. A Somali woman aged 50 was gang raped and two others suffered similar assault at gunpoint. A defilement story of a schoolgoing refugee child tells the magnitude of prevailing sexual exploitation and abuse committed by guards. Meanwhile in August, the camp residents staged a protest after continued insecurity where refugees are killed by gunshots. A journalist at Kanere was blocked and threatened for covering the riots.
KANERE welcomes Awet Andemicael, a Doctoral student from Yale University in USA, providing refugees with insight about the importance of artistic events in refugee camps. Her article on the subject teaches that in a warehousing situation where refugees live every day of their life with fear, insecurity, isolation, and boredom, the introduction of artistic events can make a real difference.
For Rwandan refugees the worst morning is awaiting those who are still alive when application of the cessation clause on June 30th, 2013 shall revoke their refugee brand ‘ration cards’ in Kakuma.
Despite the continued challenges, Kanere aims to improve the human rights condition in refugee camps through courageous and independent journalism that adheres to the highest integrity, accuracy and ethical conduct.
Finally, we direct our readers and audience to read our site, ‘like’ our facebook page at this link, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kanere-News/161557433968809, share out and keep lively discussion of what is of value and to be addressed.
We wish you a prosperous Happy New Year 2013,
KANERE editor in chief
Guards must immediately stop sexual exploitation and abuse of refugee girls in Kakuma camp. (more…)
A Somali woman aged 50 was gang raped, while two others aged 36 and 37 suffered similar assaults at gunpoint in Kakuma 3 settlement area. (more…)
Centralized elections were held in Kakuma camp in June this year yet the election process is still to be completed (more…)
Refugees according to their ration cards but considered “odd refugees out” by government. (more…)
The absence of the rule of law in Kakuma refugee camp gives managers freedom to determine refugees’ employment process and mode of payment. (more…)
“A man hit me with the sharp point of a gun on my back and ribs. I screamed loud, he started lying down on me; I could hear people shouting all over…”
- Wami Ali a Somali rape victim said in an interview/ “Somali women raped at gun point”
“We don’t give information to journalists. Are you ‘atananyeche?’… Are you a journalist?”
- Said a police official in a very intimidating way to Kanere/ “Guards: Stop Exploitation and Abuse!”
“Refugees need to have a work permit to claim a right to work. The government of Kenya has not given refugees permit to work in the camps or urban areas.”
- Paul an incentive worker/ “Refugee employment process and mode of payment”
“We know we are survivals of the bad politics that have troubled Rwanda ever since. It is not about who is in power, it’s about our security issues back home and even here. Unfortunately we do not decide on our fate but a Rwandan requested ‘Cessation Clause’ will determine.”
- Said Mutsinzi Elias a Rwandan refugee/ “Rwandan refugee to lose ration cards”
“They beat all of us; Feisal was bleeding on the head before they fired two bullets.”
- A victim’s brother in tears/ “Refugee protest following insecurity situation”
“He is coming with a gun demanding my daughter; are they here to protect us or they exploit us?”
- A victim’s mother/ “Guards: Stop Exploitation and Abuse!”
“We always have problems when it comes to shelter allocation and water rationing because each block doesn’t have its own water point.”
- A refugee leader explained at Camp 1/ “Refugee Election in Kakuma”
“I was not in protest, I was beaten while crossing the road to other street.” I know the police officer who beat me, I am in fear.”
- Fatuma told Kanere speaking at camp hospital/ “Refugee protest following insecurity situation”
“I tried to plead, but those men are cruel, my kids were helpless.”
- Habbi Moha a rape victim told Kanere/ “Somali women raped at gun point”
“Leaders are only puppets, this is like blindfolding leaders, are we silent but keen on this game, we shall see if the change claimed will benefit the community or cause negative petition.”
- Said Nyial a refugee leader/ “Refugee Election in Kakuma”
“Please, we appeal to our friends not to accept any politician’s apology when things have gone wrong in Rwanda. There could be no genuine reason for Rwanda to initiate the cessation to us. Animal in the forest is protected but we Rwandans even when we flee for our lives we are handed over to one who is hunting us!”
- Said Jean Biragoye, an NGO staff/ “Rwandan refugees to lose ration cards”
“I have not seen my sister for two years now. Do we have a right to know if she is dead or alive?”
- A Victim’s relative appealing to Kanere journalist/ “Guards: Stop Exploitation and Abuse!”
“Election for the zonal management committee started in December. We’re yet to elect the camp leader, there’s a lot of delays and confusion.”
- An electoral committee member told Kanere/ “Refugee Election in Kakuma”
Hundreds of Kakuma camp residents staged a protest following frequent murders by unidentified gunmen. (more…)
By Awet Andemicael
Last year, I conducted research for UNHCR (available online at http://www.unhcr.org/4def858a9.html), which suggests that artistic activity often plays a powerful positive role in the lives of refugees living in camps, and can help them survive and even thrive emotionally, spiritually, and physically. (more…)
By Rwanda Gasabo
One day, a rich father took his son on a trip. He wanted to show him how refugees can be. They spent time in the camp of these poor refugee families. On their way home, he asked his son, “Did you see how they are? What have you learnt, son?” The son said, “We have got a pool, they have got a seasonal river with a fantastic name, “LAGGA”. We have lanterns which come on at night but most of them have stars. Daddy one thing is very funny, we buy food, but they queue while some are beaten to receive theirs for free every two weeks. We have walls to protect us; they have friends around their thatched houses. Look! We have encyclopedias, they have The Bible.” And he added, “Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we might be…”
“It does not take much to be a refugee, simply your belief, education, political opinion, or residence in a mineral rich area.”
It’s not about what you have or don’t have, it’s about who you are. Who takes care of refugees? God, which is where their identity is.
Dear KANERE readers here and abroad,
First and foremost, I want to thank you for your loyalty to both exile journalists in KANERE and our supporters who find our work meaningful out of Kakuma refugee camp.
The past four months were generally calm inside the camp though a few cases of insecurity incidents have been reported in parts of the settlement. However, life was marked by different phenomena like natural calamities. The heavy downpour between the months of March to May caused flooding that resulted in five refugees and two members of the host community being drowned. March to June received plenty of rain, it was mild, and it was cold, warm and flooding. That is all about the weather.
In this edition: The influx of new arrivals to Kakuma following the communal conflicts, bombings and border violence for Sudanese. For Somalis violent conflicts, suicide attacks and inhuman crimes committed by Al-Shabaab insurgents are still forcing thousands of children and women into the 20 year old camp of Dadaab which now holds the shameful name of being the biggest refugee camp in the world. Dadaab Camp explosions and kidnappings are continuing and have paralyzed the humanitarian life saving operation in that camp which holds an estimated population of 500,000 refugees by mid July. In Turkana County the host communities saw a new dawn of hope after oil was discovered in the region. Several other stories constituted our publication. Yet again thousands of the camp residents turned up to commemorate the World Refugee Day in Kakuma camp this year.
KANERE has been running on a voluntary basis and amicable funding for the continuation of a refugee voice out of Kakuma has been stonewalled. As you can imagine, volunteers are working without payment. However, we feel a tremendous sense of responsibility to continue publishing for our audience – a role represented by the reporting project. We all try to do the best we can with no resources. As this situation is critical for the paper, we appeal to those who better understand KANERE to take a step forward in support of the refugee voice.
I’m happy to say that we appreciate the legal back up from press freedom and defenders’ groups. We seek potential supporters who will always stand with us, and should continue to be authentic in times ahead.
We direct and advise our audience and readers at internship to visit our archives online to find past and current editions of KANERE. And we remain as ever focused on balanced, independent and quality reporting.
I welcome any and all suggestions, critical questions or criticisms in relation to KANERE’s work. We also invite news tips from camp residents, members of the host community, humanitarian officials and our readers from abroad.
Thank you very much for reading,
KANERE editor in chief
“We were told to build walls 3 months ago; my children are still living in the tent. The sun is burning in this plastic,”
- H. Biyamungu, who arrived in February/ “Increased camp Population”
“In Kenya refugees have rights. We advocate that their legal protection is upheld while they live in Kenya,”
- RCK local NGO Manager/ “World Refugee Day”
I arrived in Kakuma on 3rd July 1992. I feel like I have lived for 100 years in the camp. In such life, one cannot view life in other end except UNHCR. A life where one depend worse of all.
- Lueth M. a primary school teacher/ “Community Talking Point”
“I fled from Mankeen in Unity State when I heard gunshots in the dead of the night, that morning we were also bombed by military plane,”
- Nyakwoth a south Sudanese new arrival at DRA office/ “Increased Camp Population”
“At the moment there’re already two wells dug. Oil resource will be a national wide development. Bi-lateral understandings with investors are already on,”
- Mr. Wekesa Wafula – Turkana District Information Officer/ “Oil Discovery in Turkana”
“We have reported the matter but the police here were not serious with their job. We don’t trust them either,”
- An anonymous Nubian youth/ “Sudanese inter – community conflict”
“We have asked UNHCR about the lack of bumps on this road. Security patrol vehicles are always over speeding yet there not been insecurity alarm every hours of the day. It scares everyone,”
- A Somali refugee leader in Kakuma 1/ “Road Repair in Kakuma”
“We don’t keep data of natural calamities. Ten people may get drowned but we might only receive three bodies,”
- affirmed a clinical official at the IRC/ “Drowning”
“Today reminds refugees of our flight. It is very sad that we had no option in life, however, I am thankful about the support both UNHCR and Kenya government is providing,”
- Abdikadir M. a Somali refugee leader/ “World Refugee Day”
“I was freely walking from church. I was beaten by 6 Nubians. I will not be happy in my life now,”
- Yom B. a victim of conflict/ “Sudanese inter – community conflict”
“I was using motorbike. It suddenly landed me in a ditch. My mouth hit a hard ground and I lost two teeth,”
- Lami, N. a Sudanese woman at Kakuma 1 zone 3 block 6/ “Road Repair in Kakuma”
Refugee Day should be commemorated in a special way by giving refugees special gifts or special food ration during the distribution cycle rather than inviting them to dance, I hate that practice.
- Ingabine Rose a Congolese/ “Community Talking Point”
“The good result was as a result of hard work. Our pupils were also serious,”
- Chala head teacher at Lokitang School/ “A camp primary school emerged best in KCPE 2011”