Letter from the Editor
Dear KANERE readers and prospective supporters,
We here at Kakuma and its environs are experiencing very hot, dry weather with plenty of dust storms at the moment. The number of refugees in Kakuma grows everyday. The security situation, however, is not adjusted for these numbers and has been deteriorating. The relationship between refugees and the host community population continues to be unstable. It was sad that there were no new publications from KANERE since last year, but we hope that this edition will be more comprehensive and will cover more aspects of camp life.
To reduce the risk of crime inside the camp proper security measures are required. The security situation in Turkana County, along the international boarders with South Sudan, Uganda and Ethiopia has been reported to be calm. In the fall of 2011, however, security alertness was enhanced for humanitarian operations in camps like the Daadab Complex following the ongoing efforts of the Kenya Defense Forces in Somalia against Al–Shabaab. At Kakuma, there was no alarming security threat though alertness was enhanced in the compounds and along the Kakuma airstrip.
Several cattle raids have been reported among Turkana and Pokot herders who are from Turkana East and South Districts. Jie and Topozas cattle raiders from Uganda remain hostile to Turkana. These situations escalate over scarce pasture and water due to a long dry season. The main highway through the North western corridor from Kitale – Lodwar – Kakuma – Lokichokio has also experienced incidents and confrontations with bandits; however the UN and NGOs staff at Kakuma are accustomed to use armed police escorts on this highway.
I want to note my sincere appreciation for KANERE journalists who have tirelessly worked on this edition entirely on a voluntary basis. It is not easy running a newspaper without funding. We want to also thank the KANERE community here and abroad for their legal and moral support of our work. We need this support so that publication can continue on a bimonthly basis. This issue will cover different developments that have happened in the camp since last November. Though this publication has been delayed, we hope our readers will find it useful and worthwhile coverage.
The new camp address initiative has been welcomed by camp residents. Shelter inadequacies have been a serious problem in the camp leading not only to congestion but also to the tragic death of a child upon the collapse of a house. A murder occurred and violent robberies have terrorized residents of the camp. For Rwandans the refugee ‘cessation clause’ seems like a death penalty. Many efforts were made to postpone the previous UNHCR deadline for revoking refugee status from already recognized persons or group. The new Camp Constitution and election procedures have divided public opinion in the camp.
Refugee encampment and warehousing policies have ‘highly politicized meaning’ that drive donors to give aid to ensure and sustain the survival of innocent victims of violent power struggles. The warehousing situation has distorted refugee understanding of how they are forced to migrate from they home to arrive in situations of harm, humiliation, degradation and abuse in various camp settlements around the world. More than 100 refugees were arrested and questioned last December over the explosion at the Ifo Refugee Camp in Dadaab complex. This created waves of insecurity in refugee camps across the country where movement of refugees out of the camps has been severely restricted.
Camps should provide better protection. Refugees should not be overlooked. Educated and talented refugees who were once civil servants, refugee activists and exiled journalists are not allowed to exercise their talents in their host countries. KANERE urges that refugees in Kenyan camps and around the globe be given dignified recognition of ‘full’ not just ‘basic’ human rights. They deserve to be treated professionally. The 1951 Refugee Convection states the ‘basic’ rights which have become fundamental, such as the ‘refugee’ definition and their right to ‘non-refoulement’. Refugees should not merely be warehoused in camps, sheltered and fed on 3gms of cereals per day. They are productive citizens of the world. The UN and world leaders should recognize the contributions of noble men and women who were once refugees like Albert Einstein and Madeleine Albright.
We hope you will enjoy reading this KANERE issue. We welcome your lively comments, contributions and questions. You can write to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
KANERE Editor in Chief,