Kakuma News Reflector – A Refugee Free Press

Delays in Resettlement Process Leave Refugees Lingering

Posted in Humanitarian Services by KANERE on May 12, 2009

Volume 1, Issue 4-5 / March-April 2009

Refugees face anxiety and uncertainty while awaiting feedback on resettlement cases that are unexpectedly delayed.

Resettlement to another country is the only durable solution in sight for thousands of refugees warehoused in Kakuma Camp with no immediate prospects of returning home. Consequently, an interview for the UNHCR resettlement process brings refugees immediate hope for starting a new and better life abroad.

Files of refugees who fulfill the criteria for resettlement are sent by UNHCR to various foreign embassies that offer refugee resettlement, such as the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. After considering the case, an embassy sends an approval letter to the refugee stating the approximate date of interview. Representatives of foreign embassies periodically visit Kakuma Camp to interview prospective cases for resettlement.

Refugees receive a letter from an embassy with great joy. Usually, they expect to sit for the interview within six months after the letter’s date of issue, and expect to leave the camp around one year later.

But this timeframe does not always unfold as hoped. Many refugees wait more than six months before being scheduled for an interview with the embassy. Others wait for more than two years after the interview before leaving the camp.

While waiting, refugees endure great worry and anxiety over the delays to their case, struggling to obtain information from authorities on the status of their case.

“I was so desperate”

Christian* is a Congolese man who received an approval letter from the Canadian Embassy in May, 2006. He sat for an interview with the Canadian Embassy that June, and completed his medical check-ups in December, 2006. After clearing the medical screening, he hoped to leave the camp soon.

However, he waited without feedback for two years, only to be told that he had to pass through medical check-ups again in 2008. After receiving another medical clearance, he was instructed to wait until March 2009 to finally leave Kakuma Camp for Canada.

Christian reports that he never received adequate information on the delay of his case. “Many times I asked IOM [the International Organization for Migration] to tell me why my case was taking long, but I was always told to wait until the Canadian Embassy sent a message,” he states.

After waiting several months, he began to send email messages to the Canadian Embassy. The Embassy responded to some messages, and ignored others. The answer was always the same: to continue waiting.

Fortunately, Christian’s indefinite waiting period ended in February of this year, when he was told that visas for him and his family were ready and they would be flown to Canada very soon.

Some days before his departure, I asked Christian to tell me what it was like to wait for such a long period. “I was so desperate during those three years,” he says, remembering the pain he experienced. “It is only by God’s mercy that I and my family have been able to see this dream realized.” Certainly, he and his family were frustrated and depressed during their three years of waiting.

Waiting for a chance at a better life

Musimba* is a 66-year old Congolese man living with his wife and five children in Kakuma. He received his approval letter from the Canadian Embassy in October 2006. Since then, he has never sat for an interview with the Canadian Embassy.

In February 2008, his name appeared on a list of people called to meet with officers from the Canadian Embassy. Unfortunately, some days before his appointed interview, he was told that the interview was cancelled because the officer evaluating his file was not able to travel to Kakuma. He was instructed to wait until his name appeared again on the board.

The Canadian Embassy has visited Kakuma on more than two occasions since then, but Musimba’s name has not appeared on the list of appointments. Instead, he claims, the lists are full of refugees who received approval letters in 2007 and 2008.

Musimba reports that he has complained many times to the UNHCR Resettlement Officer over his case’s indefinite delay. He always receives the same response: to wait until the Canadian Embassy calls him.

This situation has caused much disturbance to Musimba and his family. He already suffers from high blood pressure and his health has deteriorated during the length of the long waiting period. On many occasions, his blood pressure has escalated and he has been given drugs to help him relax and sleep. He reports that he does not like to think about his case because every time he does, his blood pressure rises.

Musimba’s wife is deeply unsettled by her family’s situation. She says that whenever she thinks about their case, she is filled with sadness and worry for her children. She does not like to see the years passing and her children growing older without having a chance to attend good schools, seek good jobs, and reach for a better life.

A bigger problem

The stories of Christian and Musimba are not the only ones to be observed in Kakuma Camp. Many refugees have received approval letters from foreign embassies—not only Canada, but from many other resettlement countries—but continue waiting for interviews, medical checkups, and flight.

In all cases the question for refugees remains the same: why is my case taking so long? Do the embassies see that their unexplained delays cause refugees to suffer profound uncertainty?

Refugees have no power to push their cases forward. They do not even have power to demand information on why their case is being delayed. But refugees desperately need to know the reasons for their case delays, and wonder whether embassies really consider the hardships they endure in the camp.

KANERE attempted to reach the resettlement office of UNHCR for comment, but could not access the compound.

*Not their real names

49 Responses

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  1. Jaylene Ney said, on May 19, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    Why not email the Canadian High Commission and ask them? I hear it is because there is a back-log pertaining to security checks — yes, that’s right, a 2 year + back-log. Picture one person in a tiny office in Ottawa.

  2. Watch Year One said, on June 20, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    I can tell that this is not the first time you write about this topic. Why have you decided to write about it again?
    p.s. Year One is already on the Internet and you can watch it for free.

  3. David Bulambo said, on June 27, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    it is sad that some cases that were profiled in 2006 are still pending. the people concerned asked why? some were told that their names are not found on the list of the people who did the profile interviews in 2006. so strange. how? How?

  4. Mohamad said, on October 3, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Do you know the meaning of pain/suffer can you feel it? how do you feel when you are hopeless and have no one to help you ? That’s how am feeling. I am still young and know that there’s a future ahead of me but dont know how to have a promising future though i am a somali refugee and some people say we are the trouble makers but i tell you people are not the same, some are bad while the others are good hearted so please don’t consider them all as bad. I am a somali male 19yrs old, residing in kakuma 1, registered under UNHCR and have a problem of resettlement and we are old not new arrivals. If you are out there and willing to help me as a human, i will definately appreciate that.
    My email address is maamee5@hotmail.com. Thank you

  5. jane said, on December 9, 2009 at 7:53 am

    VRy appealing to read it 😛 😀

  6. by mohamed shidane daban said, on January 9, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    am 35 yrs somali refugee registred at kakuma refugee camp. my case has been under unhcr protection office in both kakuma and dhadhab camp since 2008 .am vulnrable disabled journalist .at the beganing of 2009 i was interviewed by unhcr resettelment officer in dhadhab then i was transfred to kakuma for insecurity. after ane year with out feadback i became confuse going to unhcr office in kakuma and writing so many letter. naw i dont knaw what to do?what is a bout my case plz could you assist me consultation sorry if am beating a bout the push

  7. farah mohamed ali said, on May 12, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    I was living in 9 yeras in kakuma refugee camp in kenyan and i get resttlemen to usa but life of my brother in kenyan kakuma refugee camp is bad now. i want to know what is around the camp regarding resettlement?or not and wish for him to get resttlesmen thought unhcr, best

  8. salat said, on March 10, 2012 at 10:59 am

    It is good and i personally i appreciate such support because i was in kakuma for 20 years with no hope update? What is the meaning of keeping refugees in bad environment for many many year? Is there any feedback on when kakuma life will come to an end?

  9. shani said, on May 21, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    Hi Kanere news,
    my name is shani, I lived in kauma refugee camp for so many years with no hope for very long time but i am so glad to sound alive in U.S.A. I will be happy to became US citizen one day. i have my father in kakuma, he was the first person who open refugee camp of kakuma in kenya since 1992 and up to now with no hope for getting resettlement from there, how can i help for his situation?

    i need help please because he is living in kakuma camp alone. my email is shanichovae@yahoo.com

    Thanks, shani

  10. maxamed kier husein said, on June 1, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    my name is mohamed keir husein i have been living in kakuma for many years. i run for my life living all my relatives during the war. i live here as single person like i born alone.

    living in kakuma is bad hardship so if you can be able to change my life. please i need help? I don’t have any place that i go or get back to somalia because the problem that forced me is still there or worse! so please consider my reqeust as i to change this life. i will be waiting from your kindly attention.

    Thank you alot.


  11. Noor Dahir Farhan said, on July 23, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    I’m here by presenting my complains from 1999 to 2012. I have not get anything about Ressetelment. we have lived in this refugee camp for 13 years, i have been educated in this kakuma camp and also married in the camp, I got children in this camp, so my question to UNHCR is for how long shall we live here? Can this office give me any chance towards resettlement or what are we waiting next? I am not sure if i am a refugee or can we be citizen to kenya? I hope to get reply to is my question? My Ration card number is 0731110, I am somali bantu by nationality and aged 21 years old. Thank you!!

  12. mohamed umer said, on July 27, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Dear sir/madam,
    My name is mohamed umer and i was born in 1991,in kenya. we arrived in kakuma 1993. I grew here and their help is not lifeworthy. For me i don’t think am gonna have new life because until now we dont have an aproval letter from any embassy. Do we need live here until we die? Am so hopeles7….

  13. Abdi ahmed hassan said, on August 13, 2012 at 12:19 am

    Hi all my name is abdi ahmed hassan my ration card number is 072893. i live in kakuma camp refugee for long time around. I registed as a refugee 1996 an up to now and i didn’t get any reseltment. I don’t have parents i have one friend in this world and he went canada so i am just requesting you to join me my friend

  14. Batamuliza Jeane said, on August 15, 2012 at 5:30 am

    I really appreciate yaur big job and yaur kindness
    heart,you just not seat or sleep,you remember
    those who are suffering, it is just what Jesus
    Laugh with those who are laughing and Cry whith
    those who are crying.
    Im also a refugee in South Africa

    Be blessed

  15. sebahizifils said, on September 28, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    My name is Patrick Sebahizi refugee ender UNHR mandat,i’m here since 2008 want to be ressettled in canada

  16. abdirahman said, on December 4, 2012 at 6:21 am

    I am a refugee in the kakuma camp whom suffers here I wish I were resettled to third country where I can fulfill my so far dreams.

  17. Abdullahi Abukar said, on January 5, 2013 at 11:30 am

    i am abdullahi abukar who started living refugee since 1992. i started a camp called Saalah Nguuru Camp in near Mombasa county. i have a right and UNHCR brought me here in Kakuma Refugee Camp in 1997 and they keep silent. A years later in 2007 they gave us a chance but unfortunately USA and DHS gave us reject in 2008 without any reason. am sure we haven’t done anything wrong because we are a family and my siblings are too young i request UNHCR to give our rights.

    thank you

  18. abdullahi abukar said, on March 4, 2013 at 3:44 am

    am abdullahi abukar who lived as refugee since 1992 and i still in Kakuma refugee camp since 1996 till now. And i still didn’t got a chance. Am student and am still waiting re-interview in USA. But am sure God is with us.

  19. Mohamed abdikadir ismael said, on April 30, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Dear Sir or madam, i am above mention person a refugee who lives in kakuma refugee camp. l got resettlement profiling from UNHCR in February 2012. Its now 1 year and some months but did not got a confirmation LETTER from UNHCR while many people after we went to interviews together have got letters! I wanted to know why has case has delayed, this is my ration card number 1116569.

  20. KANERE said, on May 1, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Dear friends,
    Reading through all your comments.., understandably being warehoused is a crime yet UNHCR should supposedly to advocate for the rights of refugees but the reality is that it is responsible for perpetuating warehousing of refugees in camps in Africa and Asia.

    Your desires towards relocation abroad are a real need. It’s always difficult but be determined that things gonna change some day in your lives; however, resettlement issues in Kakuma no fairness due to malpractices. Kanere encourages you to report any corruptions or mistreatments you or your neighbors have encountered?

    You may also visit us on FB at; http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kanere-News/161557433968809, ‘like’ our page and share important issues of concerns!

  21. mohammed ibrahim said, on June 3, 2013 at 1:59 am

    I am mohammed Ibrahim from Kakuma R. camp, my family began the profiling exercise in 2007 and by June 2008 we finished all the remaining relocation process and awaited for FLIGHT. However, until now we are stranded in kakuma, filled with stress and depression, medical examinations are renewed after 6 months by IOM but No Flight update; whats going on our case? I beg the IOM and RSC to think BIG over this issue? I hope to expect some changes this year… Mohamed

  22. Kamal Nur said, on July 6, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    I am very sorry about the resseltment office in kakuma, they don’t want the facts but they like fake stories

  23. Mohamed said, on July 23, 2013 at 7:43 am

    Hi Kanere, Can u help? I want assistance to move to any nice country abroad please..

  24. thiol deng mawien said, on July 26, 2013 at 9:40 am

    Hello, my name is Thiol. I have been leaving in Kakuma camp since 2002 after fleeing from abyei in S.Sudan. Whats the work of the MANY Agences if it aint giving people a fare living? thats why we the blacks state the world aint good to the black man kind. The proceses take too long and the surprise is that after you finally receive a feed, its followed by rejection… I better go die in abyei than wasting time, grow aged as you feed me.
    I am 17 years old.

  25. muzungu Rutunganya Marcel said, on September 28, 2013 at 11:58 am

    It is good to inform refugee about their cases! Is not just to keep people waiting for something one doesn’t know what will happen next, for unknown period of time..

  26. safiya ahmed adan said, on November 26, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    Hi, my names is Safiya Ahmed Adan reg no for unhcr is Som 000137. I am a somalia, a mother and my children and i ware interviewed for resettlement in Nairobi office in jan 2010. Since that time i am still waiting but no reply. Why are all these delay in life? Plz look into my case! Thank you and my mobile numbar 0722555310 email: qordhere137@hotmail.com

  27. Otema Richard Alimadi said, on March 22, 2014 at 9:44 am

    My name is Otema Richard Alimadi,I am a Ugandan refugee registered under Unchr in Kakuma refugee camp. I have arrive in 2008 but i untill now there no interview on my case. I do ask the office for resettlement why they don’t attend to my case like and they told me go back to Uganda. The officer told me to go to a Ugandan embassy and my question remain in bracket with them as if this is resettlement thing in done on segregative manner at Kakuma for some nationalities or for refugees who come from different place.. I have no where to call a home as my father was a foundation for kakuma refugee camp before living me in the womb with my mum in prison for two decade. That also lead my my mother to escape narrow when being wanted and became a refugee in this camp! For many decades we’re living with no hope in life and survival. This is a big matter to me in our life and we need some help?

    If any one who feel about my situation can please assist me. My email is address: richalimadi@gmail.com
    Thanks alot for this chance,

  28. Abdi weli muktar said, on May 2, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Refugees should be patient about their resettlement interviews and even if you pretend to be get it by force you will not get unless what Allah(God) has written for you. I have personally been waiting for over four years and my mind is always fresh and positive, I usually say ALHAMDULLILAHI (thanks to almighty Allah).

    Thanks for being there Kanere

  29. Khadar abdi hussein said, on August 6, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    I am worried about the long stay. I came to Kenya in 1991 when i crossed the boarder at liboi. I have lived in this camp of Kakuma without any durable solution!

  30. Omar hassan farah said, on August 17, 2014 at 4:35 am

    I became a refugee in 1991 and i am in Dadaab refugee comp from that time. I went through resettlement process and underwent J.V.A in 2009. I was waiting for I.N.S. for 5years waiting on what any response. There’s no communication and we don’t know what is wrong there?

  31. Baeni Anna Ndacho said, on January 30, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    I am Ndacho Anna Baeni i live in uganda but a refugee from D.R Congo. My file number is B056119663, i have lived in Uganda for 15 years suffering with my children. I did all the interviews of Canada including the Canadian government interview and we agreed to pay back to the government. I did the interview on 25th May 2011 but since that day i have waited desperately but no reply am suffering terribly but no help. My resettlement has really taken so long am waiting anxietely but i need help. Please help me because life is so hard for me with my children please help me.

  32. otema richard alimadi said, on February 9, 2015 at 6:01 am

    I am Otema Richard, I have been in kakuma refugee camp for the last 7 years without any interview for resettlement, please let me know if there is a chance to wait for?

    Why is hard to know what is going on!

  33. Lam Tut Wuol said, on March 14, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    Am unacompanied minor in kakuma refugees camp. i came through all my way right from south sudan to kakuma alone without biological parent. is unforunate that help doesn’t come to the people who need it. am 17 yrs size one owning ration card from unhcr. i demand my life to change

  34. Hani Abdi said, on May 21, 2015 at 6:34 am

    Hi, my name is Hani Abdi and I have live in IFO Camp (Dadaab) since 1992 until right now. I have had many problems since 2010 until now. But i have presented my family’s case and it’s still a pending issue for such a long time? Why? Thank you.

  35. pal Samuel Gatwech said, on April 20, 2016 at 11:20 am

    Hi. I am by name Pal Samuel Gatwech. I am from Ethiopia. I was staying in kakuma for 12 years and while living here i received a letter for Canada in 2014 but up to now i was never been called for an interview. I am worried! What is happening in my case UNHCR?

  36. denis kitungano said, on May 9, 2016 at 10:39 am

    I have my case number and I’m a refugee. I have lived for six years in camp kakuma and our family size increased to 8 over years.

  37. shadiya abdi said, on June 10, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    my name is above mentioned and am one of Somali refugees in cairo i was registered at UNHCR since 2011 and UNHCR resettled me To US and met with DHS and i was rejected for security reasons although i don’t know it in detail and even did not understand what kind of crime i committed against the US government.I am here asking to know any update about my case as i submitted my appeal on this date July 2015 and never heard back from your respectifull office I am kindly requesting to respond me and update me about my case as i am suffering a lot in Cairo am alone here in cairo with no mail protection and i meet daily harrasments in Cairo I live in hard condition with luck of medication and financial assistance and am really in need your support Thanks

  38. simon taban said, on June 14, 2016 at 2:23 am

    This stories are really sad…. My family arrived here in 1994 and we are never called even for a profilling interview…. This is wrong.

  39. Ahamd SL said, on June 14, 2016 at 5:18 am

    Hi ! I’m (Ahmad SL) from Afghanistan lives in Indonesia since 2013, after 22 months i got my refugee status under UNHCR JAKARTA and still waiting for resettlement interviews, UNHCR does not treats fairly people who came on 2014 were already resettled to USA , Australia , New Zealand , Germany. and Canada. and some others are waiting for their final steps of process specially families. those who came before 2014 are all stucked here because their faults why didn’t they go to Australia by boats since they had the opportunity to go and the borders was open to them, that’s the only reason the suffers and stucked . in this excessive length of time we didn’t get any single assistance form any one or any side, thus Indonesia Government receives a huge amount of money per year for UN and Australia for Refugees and asylum seekers but they never spend any single Rupiah for migrants nor we are allowed to work here, we spend all needs by our own such as house rent , food ,medical, water, electricity, etc.

  40. Abdi noor said, on August 27, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    My name is Mr. Abdi Noor Ged. I recently received an email for my request that i was rejected. I have been waiting for this process for 8 good years since 2009 up to 20016. While on waiting for my protection status i encountered dangers and many times i get xenophobia. I tried to approach UNHCR and other org that i don’t know but no body came to rescue my life. NOT UNHCR or South African government help me to get my Status as a refugee while i have lived here for such a long time in a country where i thought rule of law and human right is for all human being simply as a human race. I am living in this country as a refugee but UNHCR has never assisted me, even one day? But why? They only gave me a rejection as if that’s the only thing that they have done better after keeping me on waiting for 8 years. I have found 5 other cases like mine here in South African. Refugees have no power to push their cases and it really so bad to go through this bad system that rather manipulate refugees.

  41. Abdullahi Abukar said, on August 30, 2016 at 10:00 am

    I have been in several refugee camps since 1992 like salah nguru camp in Mombasa county and Utango Barawe refugee camp also in Mombasa county yet UNHCR brought us in kakuma refugee camp in 1997. We are still living in this camp. There is no hope, we are tired of writing letters since 1992 till now and sadly there is no response. We will wait from ALLAH, I and my family.

  42. Mohamed said, on September 9, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    I am Mohamed Mohamud living in the camp and a father of 5 kids. My wife is a pregnant know, when i came to Dadaab refugee that was 7 years in 1992 and know my first born is 17/2yrs. I have started my first UNHCR resettlement chance in 2009/10 and in 2010/3 when i received a feedback for USA consideration. Then, after along time of waiting in 2015/8 i was called for my first interview with RSC Afriaca. In 2016/3 i was called for another interview with USCIS for the interview; in May i did and finished my medical examination and now when i am expecting for a traveling arrangement but i was put ON HOLD. My wife is 7m of pregnant now, is this the reason? Please advise.! Thanks

  43. Mohammed Ali said, on September 13, 2016 at 7:27 am

    My name is Mohamed Race Somali from Kakuma refugee camp. I would love to inform my fellow refugees that the false accusations is every day life, Life means to suffer, without hope life is to suffer. I have been falsely accused by a devil man who used to take advantage of me to believe that he can help me on my case. I don’t understand what it but i wrote something about me to the office and he has blocked my case. I don’t how why some of UN office just accept such things and they made some changes in my case. Now, my case can’t be taken for flight operation office and my case has been denied to be process further and i have no power to push my case forward, i don’t know the solution? Today many refugees are hopeless and living in plight, harsh and agony situation in kakuma and the world is silent to help refugees?

  44. Mohamed said, on September 20, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    My name is Mohamed Abdulqadir Ali. I am a refugee in Nairobi. Is there a way to find resettlement if a refugee find danger for staying the camps?

  45. ali said, on January 28, 2017 at 3:51 am

    denied cases left refugees hopeless

  46. Ally said, on January 28, 2017 at 4:12 am

    Today many refugees are suffering because their refugee status are unexpectedly denied by the decision from US Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) and it is not known for how long it will last. There is no even appeal procedure. Where is humanity? Where is consideration or kindness to refugees who have been enduring life in the camp for decades? I hope there should be more resettlement chances to refugees camps and more opportunities to change their life for better!!

  47. Ally said, on January 28, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    My refugee brothers, sisters, mothers fathers and children lets come up together and stand up with refugees who have been stuck in the camp for many years,

  48. Ally said, on January 28, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    Good story about the situation. Thanks

  49. Ally said, on February 8, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Growing up as a refugee is painful
    Change is painful

    But nothing is as painful as staying stuck some where you don’t belong.
    Why refugee children who have been stranded in the camp for decades are not opened for future door until they end up their life as refugee.
    Children deserve better life and good schools than being refugees.

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