Dear KANERE readers and prospective supporters:
We apologize for the delayed publication of this issue. Publication was hindered by challenges and struggles that render tenuous the very existence of free press in the Kakuma refugee camp. Indeed, without determined efforts from the entire KANERE community here and abroad we might have not come this far.
KANERE’s operations, which function on a voluntary basis, have been impeded by mounting dangers. These dangers include: threats to security, prolonged droughts, high mortality rates at the refugee camp hospital and violent conflict within the camp. The usually short rain season, for example, has intensified famine for the livestock of local pastoralists in Turkana. Inside the camp, however, flooding from rainfall in May caused considerable damage to hundreds of shelters. These themes emerge repeatedly in the articles that follow.
Luckily, there is good news as well. The KANERE community is immensely grateful to the planners who put the camp under a new address and blocking system, enhancing accessibility and directions to the camp settlement. The number of Camp and urban refugees reading KANERE daily has also gradually increased through computer and mobile phone technologies. Our readers extend discussion of these stories with comments and contributions on our blog. We encourage readers inside and outside Kakuma to support us by telling and distributing the stories to others.
KANERE’s objective is to enable and promote the existence of civil society, currently fractured and facing many perils inside the camp. Most gravely, the forceful suppression of free press has created a self-perpetuating crisis. This censorship is experienced intimately in daily life. To be sure the stories in this issue reveal multiple powerful paradoxes that are not easily resolved. Underpinning these is the persistence of human suffering!
KANERE represents the only organized effort toward a sustainable civil society inside the Kakuma refugee camp. We ask the standard-bearers of human rights stand with us and protect those whose rights are routinely violated in the Kakuma refugee camp. We hope that our readers enjoy the articles, and we encourage you all to make contributions to the Refugee Free Press and post comments on our stories so we can continue this lively conversation.
“The 1951 Convention refers to specific economic and social rights to which refugees are entitled, including the rights to gainful employment and education. The Convention also says that refugees are to be accorded the same treatment as nationals with respect to rationing system and public relief and assistance (arts. 20, 23).”
– 1951 Geneva Convection/ “Pay raise and termination targeting refugee incentive staff at Kakuma”
“As critical thinkers and journalists, we see these threats to KANERE’s operations as delegitimizing our voice. We seek a better approach for making inquiries into and achieving resolutions to KANERE’s cases with the police.”
– E.T., a member of Kanere’s Editorial Board/ “Escalating insecurity at KANERE”
“We shall have to make changes together. I want you to be the people who will transform and change your life for the better. Big responsibility lies in your hands. This tour aims to encourage all young people to speak for ourselves, for our world and for the provision of our needs,.”
– Monique Coleman in her speech at Kakuma / “Un Youth Champion visit to Kakuma”
“We have done so much together. I arrived in the camp when security was bad, when refugees were not able to sleep in their homes in peace but now they can have serenity in their homes.”
– Dr. Mohamed Qassim, UNHCR Head of Sub-Office Kakuma/ “World Refugee Day 2011”
“We are guided by laws to ask any question to any one.”
– A police officer in an interrogation of the KANERE Press Editor/ “Escalating insecurity at KANERE”
“Our shelters were made of mud and so they are in bad condition. If this rain continues for the next two days then all muddy shelter and makuti-roofed houses will be considerably damaged.”
– Mohamed Juma, a community leader in Kakuma one zone two/ “Kakuma draughts and floods”
“We used to have armed robbers attacking camp residents in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Currently the camp is free from attacks due to the collaborative work of security agencies. The camp is patrolled 24 hours to keep criminals out.”
– District Commissioner on behalf of the Ministry of State for Immigration and Registration / “World Refugee Day 2011”
“I saw a UNHCR official from community service who was adding new messages about the work of the field post on the boards and walls. Contrary to reality, that was to show visitors how things are done here for refugees.”
– M.S., a Somali refugee in block 8 zone 2/ “Un Youth Champion visit to Kakuma”
“The situation for youth is unbearable in Kakuma as most young people have dropped out of school and have become involved in risky activities and behaviors.”
– Z.M., a staff member of LWF Youth Development office / “Un Youth Champion visit to Kakuma”
“All parents wish to be paid salaries instead of incentives so they can have their children’s education paid for and can ensure that their children can access quality education that is not currently provided in the camp.”
– J.M., a health worker in Kakuma one/ “Pay raise and termination targeting refugee incentive staff at Kakuma”
“Refugees in the camp are not suffering people who ask for money. They are powerful and strong.”
– Jesper Bertelsen in an interview with KANERE journalist/ “Art on the Run”
‘It is widely believed that the International Community failed to stop genocide’! Once again? Some say that there were ‘grands erreurs politiques’ (grave political errors). Will there be differences in 21st century? Others talk of ‘Change’! Can change that takes place in one part of the world spread to others parts of the planet?
A Rwandan refugee poses a question on the role UNHCR has played in the forced repatriation of thousands of refugees from Rwanda and on the discrimination of international protection that is afforded to this particular group of refugees. (more…)
Serious threats have hindered smooth operation of KANERE, amplifying staff anxiety, and generating instability. (more…)
Under which protocols and laws do Kakuma incentive payments draw their foundations? (more…)
This year’s theme: “One refugee without hope is one too many.”
KANERE fully supports the theme of this year’s World Refugee Day. Hope is especially pertinent in protracted refugee situations. This day is dedicated to the millions of refugees and other forcibly displaced migrants in confined settlements or camped societies. (more…)
By Torben Ulrik Nissen, Jesper Lorentz Bertelsen and a KANERE reporter.
Art on the Run is a project supported by the Danish Centre for Culture and Development. Danish artists arrived in Kakuma on March 21st and left on April 6th, 2011. During their stay, the Art on the Run team shared their experiences with a welcoming and enthusiastic refugee community. The artists met with KANERE journalists, artists, refugees and humanitarian Agencies (more…)
UN Youth Champion Ms. Monique Coleman visits the Kakuma Refugee Camp on Thursday May 5th, 2011. You may recognize Ms. Coleman from her movies High School 1 and 2. (more…)
By Michele James-Deramo, Virginia Tech
Introduction: Uncovering Voice
In the book What is the What? author David Eggers gives voice to Valentino Achak Deng, who escaped violence in his village of Marial Bai and joined the walking boys in a journey from the southern Sudan, to asylum in Ethiopia and Kenya, and eventually to third country resettlement in the United States. The novelized memoir, written as a litany that moves between the challenges of his new life in the United States and the perils of displacement, flight and encampment, serves to also bring the reader into places remote and foreign to Westerners: specifically, the refugee camp. Much of Valentino’s formative years were spent in camps — first at Pinyudo, a makeshift camp along the Gilo River in Ethiopia and later at Kakuma, a UNHCR site where he was officially registered as a refugee. (more…)
The drought accompanied by intensive heat has been persistent since the beginning of the year. The usually short rains between February and March passed without a single drop of rain from the clear skies. The weather was tremendously hotter and a visible burden on goats and human beings within the host environment. The local nomads of Turkana rely on livestock as their main source of livelihood. Like refugees, they also depend on humanitarian food aid. However, the nomads trek for long distances, dragging goat carcasses for the purpose of exchanging them for food rations with the refugee community or for monetary gains in exchanges for humanitarian consumption. Since these are the only meat supplement supplies in this desert, goat carcasses range in price from 2,500 to 4,000 Ksh (31 USD to 50 USD). Turkana women also exchange charcoal for WFP Food Rations. (more…)
It is the crack of the giant
of a giant country waiting to fall apart
the clear street of leer town
shaded by neem and leer trees
lined along its highways (more…)