Dear KANERE readers,
This is the last issue of the recently concluded year 2013, but there are still very many stories and news around the camp within the Turkana country that were left untold. Of course, we may not be able to accomplish everything and human resources are highly needed to help the refugee media to achieve its objectives.
However, we are continually making changes to improve refugee reporting in an open, transparent and free expression in comparison to humanitarian desired reporting on refugee protection and service deliveries in encampment. We will strive hard to remain vibrant in 2014.
In this issue we welcome a contribution from Brett Shadle, an Associate Professor of African History at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA. His contribution focuses on refugee rights violations under warehousing, questioning whether the refugees have the right to know about the impacts of decision making on their futures and life as they live in limbo!
We are tapping into the human aspect on the escalating deadly violence within the Turkana country that claimed at least 25 lives between the two rival communities of Turkana and Pokot in the fall of last year. The two nomadic groups often clash over cattle rustling and boundary disputes.
KANERE has interviewed a large number of Somali refugees on the community talking point: “What do you think about the Somali repatriation?” Their perspectives constitute a range of public opinion!
In Kakuma 1 camp settlement, a family mourns after their residential house burst into flames killing three children last December, that left unforgettable sad memories for many residents. In line with humanitarian best practices, the Refugee Consortium of Kenya (RCK) organized legal awareness forums in the season of the 16 Days of Gender Activism throughout Kakuma. The RCK’s legal awareness training was mostly welcomed as it was found meaningful by refugee communities in terms of their pro bono legal advice for refugees in the camp.
Moreover, the Refugee Status Determination (RSD) process has slowly been taken over from the UN Refugee Agency – UNHCR by the Kenyan Government through the Department of Refugee Affairs (DRA), which has assumed full responsibility for the RSD process in Kakuma refugee camp. In 1991, in unclear circumstances, UNHCR was given the responsibility of conducting the RSD on behalf of the Kenyan government. However after many decades of UNHCR performing the vital role of the state, the refugees and asylum seekers are unclear about UNHCR’s accountability! Have they failed the refugees?
On press freedom, one alarming incident was recorded over the year where a Kanere reporter was assaulted and his cell phone crushed by an NGO local guard as he photographed an event in September 2013. The matter was reported to the police and justice is waiting to be done on the case.
On behalf of all the members of KANERE team, I take this opportunity to wish you a Happy New Year 2014 with more peace and freedom.
We love to hear your feedback,
Qaabata Boru – Kanere Editorial Executive
“We could not establish the cause of the fire and had no knowledge why the kid’s mother had tied her son in chains except that the boy had mental problems,”
– local security guard told Kanere/ “House fire killed three children”
“We have already taken over the full responsibility for the RSD process from the UNHCR,”
– DRA official in Kakuma office disclosed/ “RSD Transition”
“These forums will target largely the new arrivals among others to enlighten them on the laws as per the Refugee Act, their rights and obligations,”
– Martin Pepela – Programme manager RCK Kakuma – told Kanere/ “RCK’s Legal Awareness Forums”
“I was born in Kenya (Malindi) but my parents came from Kismayo. I am living with nine members of my family in Kakuma. I have never been to Somalia and all I know is about Kenya but despite the fact of owning a nationality by virtue of birth I don’t have a Kenyan Citizenship. The repatriation of Somalis could be premature. The country is not safe or stable. It might have improved by 50% but it’s not the right time to return refugees into that war-torn place. I think the refugee leaders should be allowed to go and see and return mission to understand current situation of peace in Somalia. Therefore, while life in exile is unpredictable the Somali refugees should not be forced to return to Somalia,”
– Ahmed Yusuf, a student at Bor-town secondary school/ “Community Talking Points: Somali repatriation”
“Most of the locals have guns because the two counties share porous borders with Uganda and S. Sudan where they import the firearms from,”
– a North Pokot government official said in a comment/ “Pokot militia besiege Turkana villages”
“Refugee communities tremendously thanked your advocacy role and provision to accompany and protect refugee rights in Kenya,”
– a Congolese Zone 3 refugee leader recognized/ “RCK’s Legal Awareness Forums”
“I ran out of my house due to huge smoke and I saw the house was burning from its roof,”
– Mohamed Qarnole/ “House fire killed three children”
“My habitual residence was in Gedo before I fled to Kenya in 2000. The peace in Somalia is still in the hand of the terrorist groups, thus I can’t go back now. The solution would be to make the ground safer for the returnees. People should be able to have access to social needs such as the rights to education, health care and food security. Therefore the International community should facilitate a better structured security for the returnees. You should not just decided to throw people like stones into the desert and watch them dying shamelessly. It may not add value to humanity,”
– M. Said, a social worker with LWF/ “Community Talking Points: Somali repatriation”
The Refugee Status Determination (RSD) process is in transition from the UN Refugee Agency – UNHCR – to the Kenyan government. (more…)
The Refugee Consortium of Kenya (RCK) organized legal awareness forums in the season of the 16 Days of Gender Activism in Kakuma. (more…)
A Somali family mourn after their house burst into flames killing three children. (more…)
KANERE talks to members of the Somali communities: young, old and cultured. “What do you think about the Somali Repatriation?” The refugees share their views. Their perspectives show the diversity of public opinion. (more…)
Do refugees have the right to know about the impacts of decision making on their futures, lives as they live in limbo? (more…)