Kakuma News Reflector – A Refugee Free Press

Hindrance on the Traveling Documents and Right to Movement

Posted in Human Rights by KANERE on July 16, 2009

Volume 1, Issue 5-6 / May-June 2009

Hinderance on the Traveling Documents and Right to Movement.

Some refugees in kakuma felt that their movement rights are violated since they have been facing unseen difficulties from the offices of authorization in the kakuma refugee camp. Unlike citizens, a refugee to travel legally from kakuma to any other place in Kenya has to apply for the traveling document in which the reason for traveling is stated among other information and this may depend on the many of the reason that are not know by the refugees and they traveling missions are stopped in the some of the cases.

Refugees who wish to travel always must fill in a traveling document from where the applicants fill there personal details of the exact information that are contained in the

UNHCR database.

The traveling document are available to refugees through their respective community leaders from UNHCR protection unit and clearly labeled that “the forms are free of charge” but in the local refugee markets there are sold.

After the forms are filled the applicants goes to the officer at the department of the refugee affairs who will later endorse all traveling forms that reaches that office and forward it to the UNHCR for verification and to process of the traveling movement pass.

The process took long period of time before the traveling movement pass was issued by the UNHCR office.

Refugees who wish to travel on their missions get blocked on their way since they don’t have the movement pass but many of refugees do travel to Nairobi without the traveling document from the UNHCR and by their own means ,most refugees can reach to Nairobi and other urban centers.

When the kanere journalist reached the UNHCR, they get blocked and were denied access to information on a public grounds.

Some refugees are not allowed to travel since they don’t have ration cards or their ration cards got de-activated by the UNHCR after rejections on the Refugee Status Determination (RSD) procedures in kakuma and hence left unrecognized, so none of the NGOs in camp can offer them any assistance that are required by the refugees or asylum seekers while many of them have been living in the camp.

The time lag between the application and approval seems to be a problem for those who are called urgently to meet with their friends and relatives. Kanere approached many refugee individuals and got their claims and concerns over the restrictions of movements in Kenya. “I was called one day to meet my brother who came from USA in Nairobi. He had few days to stay in order to proceed to Uganda to get married I failed to meet him, after a long time of missing him years since we are separated and due to the traveling document it took me too long to wait for the permit pass.” John said john in an interview with kanere journalist.

Though the time lag had been of recent shortened, the hindrances remains to those who wish to visit relatives abroad.
” I always wish to visit my people in Tanzania but I heard the Kenya laws do not allow and I wish to know what does the Kenya law says about going abroad.? I have ten years now staying in kakuma refugee camp missing the all my family and relatives,” Simon said. Traveling documents solve some problems but are a hindrance in some situations most importantly, refugee wish to be allowed to visit relatives at least in neighboring countries.

Kanere journalist attempted to consult the officer of migration at the Department of the Refugee Affairs[D.R.A] the officer was busy on 10/06/2009 but a staff at the office who seek anonymosity commented that the DRA is doing heavy work for refugees in the camp that these office of DRA is free to be accessed by all refugees “we at the DRA are doing our best .we do what is in our capacity quickly, refugees can always have access to our office and we forwarded to the other concerned issues to the UNHCR and it takes longer periods of times as refugees were saying but services are better than before.”

In the conclusion, according to the refugee information source refugees were controlled from moving out the camp where as who ever travels without the concept of the UNHCR documentations and the local government authorities travel at his or her own risk and refugees were forced to confine in the camp and this is more than a warehousing situation .

The camp are not good place for human beings to live and especially for decades under similar unfair situations of living every day and refugees demanded changes from the international communities since every one is talking of the refugee issues are the international issues.

There should be changes to make camps a better place to stay and a more open democratic society where the refugees tags are removed , “them” should also remain like other human beings without tags or ration cards or numbers on their necks because refugees are human beings like other people on the plant, they were real people and realization of their human right are real needs.

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