“In the refugee camps I visited in Tanzania and Kenya, refugees interviewed strongly felt that their rights and freedoms were not being fully upheld by UNHCR. Refugees organizing themselves into associations or free press often face hostility far greater from UNHCR staff than sometimes government organs.”
-Zachary Lomo, “Essay on Refugee Human Rights”
“We demand for justice and democratic governance, as decisions are only made half-way since the refugees are not involved in the policy and laws that govern refugees in Kakuma.”
-Refugee community leader / “Democracy and Refugee Participation in Decision-Making”
“Everyone talks about rights or human rights, but there is nothing like rights I got in Kakuma.”
-Ethiopian rejected asylum seeker / “Refugee Status Determination: Facing Rejection”
“Can WFP change this MixMe into locally produced food rather than bringing externally produced chemicals that are harmful to refugees, who are used as laboratory animals for someone’s university research?”
-Anonymous refugee / “Community Talking Point: Mix Me”
“UNHCR without refugees is like a mirror without eyes—impossible. But refugees without UNHCR is possible, if they are given freedom. Refugees have potential to do things. But it’s not tested. If refugees are not given a chance and freedom, they cannot know their capacity and the value of life.”
-Ethiopian refugee / “Refugee Life at An Angle”
“Life is a circular motion, which rotates on its own axis with every individual. Through it, there’s happiness, sadness, love, peace, conflict, and many good and bad fortunes. One can have one day of life and die, others may have hundreds of years of age, but still they make a full circle. The difference is only the size of the radius.”
-Ugandan refugee / “Refugee Life at An Angle”
Volume 1, Issue 4-5 / March-April 2009
To all KANERE readers, here and abroad:
We apologize that our last issue was not published due to a month-long internet blackout at the refugee camp cybercafé. Fortunately, the cybercafé was just restored and we are now re-connecting with the rest of Earth. Hello again!
Throughout March, life in Kakuma was getting hotter by the day, which may explain an unusual series of impassioned and fiery events. Refugee shelters were burnt to the ground in rage; a stampede erupted at the UNHCR head count; a UNHCR official fled field post amid a hail of stones; and several assaults and a shocking murder occurred.
Nonetheless, life went on and April brought a smattering of rains. We persisted in our journalism despite our disconnection—taking note of our histories and remarking on our happenings. Amid the perennial uncertainties of refugee life, we continue to ask the questions that need to be asked.
So enjoy this rather bulky double issue, and keep up the lively stream of comments.