Kakuma News Reflector – A Refugee Free Press

Quotes of the Month (Nov 2011 – Jan 2012)

Posted in Quotes of the Month by KANERE on April 16, 2012

“No one assisted me when I fled, likewise when Rwanda is safe for me; I may not need UNHCR assistance to go back.”  
– J. Clare, Rwandan Female Refugee/ “The Rwandan Refugee Cessation Clause”

“Our security is bad; I don’t know why they killed my brother. We can’t live here like this every day after Dadaab camps.”
– Ahmed .M., Brother of the Victim/ “Murder at Kakuma2”

“They woke me up, then one of them put a gun near my neck and told me to choose death or produce money.”
– Sija, Ethiopian Male Survivor/ “Violent Robbery in Kakuma1”

“The security situation is fine, police patrols are on 24 hours and local refugee guards are also in liaisons with security agencies.”
– A.C., Anonymous Security Official / “Murder at Kakuma2”

“The bus was speeding and overloaded at the time of the accident, that was what I can recall.”
– Tura, Ethiopian Refugee/ “Tragic Accident”

“He slapped me and pinned me down on the floor. I couldn’t allow him to… I’d prefer to die than to be raped before the eyes of my own brother.”
– Mita, Ethiopian Female Survivor/ “Violent Robbery in Kakuma1”

“He has no mercy; he used to beat people like dogs at food distribution centers. We know him for bad things, now he has caused problems for our people.”
– David, Sudanese Group Leader in Zone2/ “Late-Night Brawl sends Infamous Police Officer to Hospital”

“There have been delays in the entire process, but new leadership camp elections are expected by March 2012.”
– Mohamed, Somali Electoral Committee Member / “Refugee Camp Election”

“I asked the police to explain what crimes were committed by my daughter. She was locked in for 8 days. But I was not informed of anything. The police officer told me to go and pay the fine for her release but I didn’t have money that week.”
– Hoden, Parent of Saira/ “Late-Night Brawl sends Infamous Police Officer to Hospital”

“It is written on paper, but how practical will it be? Let’s see what happens.”
– Marx, Primary School Teacher at Kakuma2/ “Refugee Camp Election”

“We should be consulted. We are human beings, what good do you think you do for refugees when we don’t see you doing it the right way?”
– Anonymous Refugee Shop Owner/ “Camp Planning and New Addressing System”

 “I had no control, I breastfed my baby before the house collapsed. The quick sleep overtook the baby and her elder sister who was also in the house due to the hot sun outside. I was frightened by the sudden collapse.”
– Mother of the late Niyomuremyi Blandine / “Collapsed Shelter Kills Infant, Injures Another”

“I was shocked to hear my children drowned a short time after having lunch together. I could not believe it when I found them already dead!”
– Sara, Mother of the Drowned Children/ “Two Refugee Children Die in Seasonal River in Kakuma”

“Exile is a different world. We’re merely alive and only better than death. We are not living normal life.”
– Elias Lemma, Ethiopian KANERE Journalist in Exile / “World Journalists meet at CPJ International Conference”

Quotes of the Month, 2011 (Feb – June)

Posted in Quotes of the Month by KANERE on August 21, 2011

“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”

Quotes of the Quarter (Nov.Dec.Jan 2010-11)

Posted in Quotes of the Month by KANERE on February 11, 2011

2010-11 Winter Quarterly Issue

“My vote is to separate so that South Sudan can stand and rule itself. This is where I belong since before the coming of the Arabs. I better go back to cultivate crops than live this life at the camp.”

– T.M.G., on the South Sudan Referendum

“I ask and encourage our people to come out and vote. It’s clear to say that history has shown the New Identity. We don’t hate the North. We can take the control of our Nation. We can make, break and divide our country. ”

-Philip Deng, SSRC Representative in Kenya on the South Sudan Referendum

“It is not acceptable to kill a friend just for single quarrels. Young men in these communities walk with short knives in their pockets.”

-Refugee community leader on new forms of violence in Kakuma Camp


“We have many disabled and elderly people in this community, but they were not even counted yet. Some of them do not even know their own registration numbers scheduled by the UNHCR on the notice boards.”

-Refugee leader in Zone Five, on problems with the UNHCR verification exercise

“One died and five were injured, but I cannot give names of the passengers encountered in the accident without authorization from the IRC Program Coordinator.”

-IRC National staff during an interview over fatal road accident

“We could not manage to put out the fire. We had plenty of water flowing for four hours over the normal circumstances, and we thank the LWF water department.”

-A.A., eye witness to the blaze that consumed a neighborhood group in Kakuma One

“We need scholarship, but not our location to be known to the Ethiopian Embassy. I wonder if that is what UNHCR should do.”

-Ethiopian Oromo student regarding a scholarship opportunity with mixed benefits

Quotes of the Month: July-October 2010

Posted in Quotes of the Month by KANERE on November 8, 2010

“I just feel so much emptiness in my arms where my child should belong. In every dark night I recall when my son was killed.”

-Mother of a 12-day-old baby boy killed by a gunshot

“This change in culture and behavior will develop into mental stress in almost all refugees, but the degrees of stress will differ according to each and every individual. It’s an undeniable fact that you could really develop real stress even if you consider that you are a free person or free of this problem.”

-T., writing on the experience of being a refugee

“I have family and friends abroad and I still cannot answer any calls that are strange, because I cannot risk dying simply.”

– M., a Somali living in Kakuma One worried about the killer calls hoax

“We find our jerrycans kicked off the water taps, stones thrown at us frequently, and we even don’t sleep in our house some nights due to too much fear and frustration.”

– A., mother of an 8-year-old boy involved in a child abuse case

“This solar lighting project was first initiated in Kakuma so that determination can be made if such initiatives can be established in other refugee camps.”

-Marge Gorge, of UNHCR EDP–Kakuma, on a new lighting project in the camp

“It is good to have lights through the whole night in the camp, especially in the areas which gunmen use when they attack and kill refugees.”

-A Rwandan-Sudanese refugee on the long-awaited lights to be installed in the camp

“The Refugee Consortium of Kenya is doing a good job helping refugees and asylum seekers on legal protection. The Department of Refugee Affairs is showing low performance in being firm and independent. The decision-making body is not fair and just in line to the Refugee Status Determination (RSD) and Resettlement, and that is why the feedback takes so long. The security is still challenging.”

M., a case worker with LWF commenting on the Community Talking Point

Quotes Of The Months, June 2010

Posted in Quotes of the Month by KANERE on June 30, 2010

“I am traveling. None should open my store and interfere. Let me be responsible for it .I have committed a crime and only allow the police to open the doors.”

-Y.M., A murderer speaking on the phone to his neighbour fleeing to away after the crime

“We are shocked by the injuries caused by her husband. Waral was also taken to imprisonment for the crimes committed and failing to disclose the solid cause of the chaos.”

Sudanese Equatorial Deputy Chairman speaking on the violence caused by his community member

“I was raped before the eyes of my own children and husband, I don’t even see any meaning of life anymore.”

-H.W. A victim complaining on the recent insecurity situation in the camp

“The results of the survey were not ready yet and we can’t give information until we are granted permission from the Nairobi Office.”

National Programme Officer of mix me in WFP to KANERE reporter during the Mix Me end line survey.

“He was taken to the surgical toile on Wednesday the 19th and discharged 23rd May 28, 2010 from IRC Refugee hospital.”

-M.B. IRC nurse who was taking care of a 14 year old boy in the isolation ward at Refugee main

Hospital on the recent insecurity in the camp

“Refugees are in Kenya since before the independent and we welcome and cater for their security. As we are reassuring the protection and security for the refugees. We have opened police posts and there are patrols so we have peaceful environment.”

A Kenya Government Official makes a speech on the world refugee day at Kakuma

Quotes of the Month, December 2009

Posted in Quotes of the Month by KANERE on December 22, 2009

“I fear the man who shot me can still find me in the streets of Nairobi.”

-M.M., Darfurian refugee who fled insecurity in Kakuma Camp and is now in Nairobi

“The time to act is now. People won’t enjoy alcohol when our people are dying. After all, everybody is at risk.”

– Sudanese group leader on the recent cholera outbreak that caused public bars and eateries to close

“How it is great to see yourself out of the invisible enclosure made with barbed wire. How would feel if you are kept in such a place where you can’t see exactly where the outlet is?”

-Refugee poet in “Illusion”

“Why is it that instead of the UN getting tough on the promoters of wars like arms manufacturers and suppliers, it concentrates on their victims, the refugees? Why is it that the UN is less interested in dealing with the causes of wars than with their effects?”

-Refugee journalist on the question of the UN’s efficacy

“I have a good message to take back to Nairobi. The conditions are not favorable and there is pain, but I can also see there’s hope.”

-Mr. Jackson Wachira, the KISWCD principal, in a graduation ceremony speech at Kakuma

“When it comes to the issue of shelter, it was good at Daadab, but here [in Kakuma] we couldn’t even turn up. So we exchange our food rations for poles so as to erect tents with the materials.”

-N.R., a Somali new arrival to Kakuma and mother of three children

Quotes of The Month: May-June 2009

Posted in Quotes of the Month by KANERE on July 16, 2009

“Human ‘warehousing’ not only violates the rights of refugees, it also impinges on the national sovereignty of hosts and often threatens peace and security between hosts and source nations and their neighbors. Warehousing generally involves allocating vast chunks of territory to foreign administration, not only in the distribution of rations but in exercising several key aspects of sovereignty such as refugee status determinations and even basic law enforcement.”

Merrill Smith of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, speaking on International Politics and Humanitarian Action

“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.”

-KANERE journalist speaking on the right to movement and lack of protection after living in Kakuma Camp for six years facing RSD rejection

“I always wish to visit my people in Tanzania, but I heard the Kenyan laws do not allow and I wish to know what does the Kenyan law say about going abroad? I have ten years now staying in Kakuma Refugee Camp missing all my family and relatives.”

-Simon commenting on the right to movement outside Kakuma Camp without a UNHCR-issued permit

“Refugees want words to be replaced by actions when they speak about refugees as real people with real needs. Much emphasis is placed on the actual refugee situation as opposed to refugees’ real sufferings. However, the [humanitarian] agency staffs who speak on their behalf do not feel it exactly.”

-A refugee community leader, commenting on the World Refugee Day celebration at Napata Grounds in Kakuma Camp

“But it’s not always accessible. Sometimes we have electric power shortage and the cyber cafe itself is not enough. I felt dark for the period of no network service and alternatively, the only help is if NGOs could establish other network services in the camp.”

-Tamrat, a young Ethiopian man, commenting on the impact of not having reliable internet services in the camp

“They should at least give the youth simple jobs such as cleaning or any job that does not require much skills. Why should they recruit people from as far away as 500km they can get them here?”

-Eyinei Samuel, a Kenyan Kakuma resident and youth leader, commenting on local Turkana public demonstrations on what they termed as lack of rights

Quotes of the Month: March-April 2009

Posted in Quotes of the Month by KANERE on April 12, 2009

“In the refugee camps I visited in Tanzania and Kenya, refugees interviewed strongly felt that their rights and freedoms were not being fully upheld by UNHCR. Refugees organizing themselves into associations or free press often face hostility far greater from UNHCR staff than sometimes government organs.”

-Zachary Lomo, “Essay on Refugee Human Rights”

“We demand for justice and democratic governance, as decisions are only made half-way since the refugees are not involved in the policy and laws that govern refugees in Kakuma.”

-Refugee community leader / “Democracy and Refugee Participation in Decision-Making”

“Everyone talks about rights or human rights, but there is nothing like rights I got in Kakuma.”

-Ethiopian rejected asylum seeker / “Refugee Status Determination: Facing Rejection”

“Can WFP change this MixMe into locally produced food rather than bringing externally produced chemicals that are harmful to refugees, who are used as laboratory animals for someone’s university research?”

-Anonymous refugee / “Community Talking Point: Mix Me”

“UNHCR without refugees is like a mirror without eyes—impossible. But refugees without UNHCR is possible, if they are given freedom. Refugees have potential to do things. But it’s not tested. If refugees are not given a chance and freedom, they cannot know their capacity and the value of life.”

-Ethiopian refugee / “Refugee Life at An Angle”

“Life is a circular motion, which rotates on its own axis with every individual. Through it, there’s happiness, sadness, love, peace, conflict, and many good and bad fortunes. One can have one day of life and die, others may have hundreds of years of age, but still they make a full circle. The difference is only the size of the radius.”

-Ugandan refugee / “Refugee Life at An Angle”

Quotes of the Month: February 2009

Posted in Quotes of the Month by KANERE on February 28, 2009

“Do all the people who work with and amongst refugees and asylum seekers believe in their rights, and particularly the right to a free press?”

-Dr. Ekuru Aukot / “Who believes in the rights of Immigrants? Do refugees in Kenya have the right to free press?”

“My heart is full of sorrow. I feel so sad to see how long it takes to be accepted as a refugee while suffering in the camp.”

-A Congolese asylum seeker / “Refugee Status Determination: Justice Delayed is…Typical?”

“This is a frightening situation, if not a disaster.”

-A caseworker on the case of a suicidal single mother / “UNHCR Field Posts Aim to Protect Refugees”

“The UNHCR knows us not by name, but by number.”

-An Ethiopian refugee who has tired of being repeatedly counted / “Refugee Headcount Begins”

“I believe that the world’s refugee camps could produce the next generation of great artists.”

-Sally Lincoln, American artist visiting Kakuma Refugee Camp / “An Artist’s View of Kakuma Refugee Camp”

Quotes of the Month: January 2009

Posted in Quotes of the Month by KANERE on January 31, 2009

Volume 1, Issue 2 / January 2009

“When others control the voice [of refugees], is it any wonder that the appeal is almost always for more aid and not for more rights?”

-Merrill Smith, of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and  Immigrants/ “Speaking Out on Warehousing: 3 Questions for Merrill Smith”

“One way to begin to address the evils of [refugee] camps is to create feedback mechanisms…If a free press spreads among the hundreds of camps in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and appears on the World Wide Web, indeed a feedback mechanism will have been established.”

-Dr. Barbara Harrell-Bond, refugee rights advocate and founder of the Oxford Refugee Studies Centre / “Speaking for Refugees or Refugees Speaking for Themselves”

“Refugees are human beings. Human rights are the things that belong to us and no one can take them away.”

-A refugee incentive worker on wage inequalities / “Are Refugees Entitled to Equal Pay for Equal Work?”

“[Refugees] have a right to information and transparency from UNHCR and partner staff… A rights-based approach requires organizations to support people to demand what they are entitled to.”

-UNHCR, in A Community-Based Approach in UNHCR Operations / “KANERE Celebrates One Year of UNHCR’s Rights- and Community-Based Approach”