Kakuma News Reflector – A Refugee Free Press

Letter from the editor

Posted in Letter from the Editor by KANERE on December 31, 2018

Dear KANERE readers,

I was recently speaking to a friend who was unfamiliar with KANERE. I described the newsletter as “unique,” and when asked what makes KANERE different from other publications in Kakuma, my response was quick: its independence. There are a number of so-called “refugee magazines” that operate in the camp. They are branded with the refugee label but are run by humanitarian agency staff like Film Aid. These organizations are funded by the UN Refugee Agency, and it is in their interest to shape the portrayal of refugee camps in Kenyan and international media to convey a “humanitarian-positive” view. Such narratives are not attuned to the perspectives and opinions of refugees themselves. This is how KANERE is different: its independence allows it to attend to refugees’ interests in a manner that is not mediated by agencies and external institutions.

Of course, there have been hurdles in sustaining this publication. When I moved from Kenya to Canada in 2017, most of my former responsibilities were passed to the incoming editor Elias Lemma. Elias then left for the US shortly thereafter under the refugee resettlement program. This was welcome news and a positive turning point in Elias’s life, as he had remained in Kakuma for nearly 15 years, despite his critical protection needs as an exiled journalist. But these transitions caused some setbacks, interrupting the smooth operation of the newspaper. Nonetheless, the KANERE team remained passionate about their reporting tasks. In early 2018, Elias transferred the editorial roles to G. Ibrahim, who is currently the managing editor of KANERE, leading the team of young and dedicated refugee journalists and reporters in Kakuma.

For refugees who are largely dependent on aid rations for survival, life in a camp like Kakuma is a series of ups and downs. The very existence of the camp, established in 1991, is a failure of the international law and a tacit acceptance of refugee warehousing. But within this context, there have been both positive and negative developments in terms of service delivery and the pursuit of durable solutions to the protracted displacement. This issue provides a lens on several of these developments.

The implementation of an innovative technological application of refugee verification known as Kiosk to Access Services and Information (KASI) has supported communication between refugees and agency staff. Agencies are promoting KASI as a way to allow refugees to access key information in their files. But for many refugees, lack of mobile phones and computer literacy remains a challenge.

The repatriation programs for refugees from Somalia, Rwanda and Burundi continue to provide a means for people to return to their countries of origin. These programmes are intended to be implemented strictly on a voluntary basis, but for many refugees’ personal and social circumstances, these countries remain unsafe for return.

Along with several other stories, we have also included a security update pertaining to the death of two refugees by gunshot wounds in Kakuma, which followed incidences of alleged robbery by violence.

As always, we welcome comments, opinions, criticisms and expert contributions to our editorial section, which can be submitted to us at kakuma.news@gmail.com.

As we move into 2019, Happy New Year from all of us at KANERE!

Sincerely,

Qaabata Boru, Elias Lemma & G. Ibrahim
KANERE Editorial Team

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Quotes of the months for August, November – December Edition 2018

Posted in Quotes of the Month by KANERE on December 31, 2018

“When they arrived, they were many, they carried big sticks, and they used force. I was bleeding from my head as a result of the beating,”
– Leader of Refugee Flag Kakuma told KANERE in an interview on the scene/”LGBTIQ protest interrupted by violence outside UNHCR sub-office”

“It is just another bureaucracy,” Said Henrik, a community leader who spend more than 25 days waiting to meet the agencies officials to receive his number,”
– Henrik a refugee community leader told KANERE/”Using Tech to Bring Services closer to Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the Camp”

“after they killed him, they took his phone and money from his pocket.”
– Close relative to Deng told KANERE/”Violent Robbery Results in Refugee Death”

“I thought my refugee status would be determined within a year after arrival. but this has not been the case at all,” he explained. “I was denied opportunities because my status determination was incomplete, and people I met at UNHCR were not helpful,”
– Tamiru an Ethiopian asylum seeker with her experience of RSD rejection/”Refugees receive RSD letters from RAS”

“The two clans belong to Luo Nuer, and the reason for the fight was recycled from the last year,”
– Explained community security worker Gat Dak in Kakuma 4/”Two killed in communal violence”

“The programme is comfortable and its really helpful”
– Jilo one of the beneficiaries from refugee community/ “SNHU Global Education Movement (GEM) and Jesuit Worldwide Learning (JWL) Introduce New Programme for Kakuma Residents at Student-Employer Networking Event”

“They told me to call someone with computer skills after finishing the two steps process. It takes more than a week to find help because I do not have the computer skills to schedule my own appointment,”
– Explained an Oromo refugee, who wishes to remain anonymous at the field post Centre two/”Using Tech to Bring Services closer to Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the Camp”

“Matom was imprisoned in a murder case, but the person who impregnated his sister has fled from Kakuma. The girl is in UNHCR protection area with her child,”
– John Sudanese youth leader told KANERE/”Two killed in communal violence”

Using Tech to Bring Services closer to Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the Camp

Posted in Education, Humanitarian Services, News Updates by KANERE on December 31, 2018

By Qaabata & Tolossa – KANERE journalists

Kakuma residents are now able to use their mobile phones to communicate with UNHCR staff and schedule appointments. (more…)

Violent Robbery Results in Refugee Death

Posted in Human Rights, News Updates, Peace and Security by KANERE on December 31, 2018

By Ibrahim – KANERE reporters

One refugee killed by gunshot and a dozen injured by gunmen in Kakuma. (more…)

LGBTIQ protest interrupted by violence outside UNHCR sub-office

Posted in Community and Culture, Education, Health, Human Rights, News Updates, Peace and Security by KANERE on December 31, 2018

By Ahmed & Mohan – KANERE reporters

At least 20 refugees injured as LGBTIQ demo turned violent outside the UNHCR compound in Kakuma. (more…)

Refugees receive RSD letters from RAS

Posted in Human Rights, Humanitarian Services, Kakuma Town and Kenya, News Updates by KANERE on December 31, 2018

BY KANERE News Desk – kakuma.news@gmail.com

The Refugee Affairs Secretariat distributes decision letters to anxious refugees in the wake of the Refugee Status Determination transfer process. (more…)

Two killed in communal violence

Posted in Community and Culture, Human Rights, News Updates, Peace and Security by KANERE on December 31, 2018

BY Tut Nyink – KANERE reporter

Dispute over woman results in the deaths of at least two people and many injured. (more…)

SNHU Global Education Movement (GEM) and Jesuit Worldwide Learning (JWL) Introduce New Programme for Kakuma Residents at Student-Employer Networking Event

Posted in Contributors, Education, Humanitarian Services, Kakuma Town and Kenya, News Updates by KANERE on December 31, 2018

By Ebssa Tolossa – KANERE reporter

Students from Kakuma’s newest higher education programme had an opportunity to chat with area professionals, business leaders, and agency representatives. (more…)

All in my thought

Posted in Arts, Community and Culture by KANERE on December 31, 2018

By Gidi Abamegal – Tilting cages, Kakuma refugee camp

In front of my tilting cage,
That little but of plastics,
So not to suffer from loneliness,
I travelled far and wide,
All in my thought. (more…)

Kiziba refugees protest

Posted in Human Rights, Humanitarian Services, News Updates by KANERE on February 22, 2018

By Qaabata Boru & Roland Kalamo

On Tuesday, February 20th, 2018: A large movement of refugees – some report several thousand – departed on foot from the Kiziba refugee camp in Western Rwanda. Leaders declared that they were repatriating to the DRC in response to both recent and proposed reductions in aid provision. It may be one of the first examples of voluntary repatriation undertaken as a protest.

During a confrontation with Rwandan military, soldiers fired live bullets with intentions to force refugees back to the camp. At least 11 refugees died according to the report from UNHCR Rwanda, a protestor was wounded when a bullet struck his foot, and several other injuries were alleged during the mayhem.

(more…)

Letter from the editor

Posted in Letter from the Editor by KANERE on February 11, 2018

Dear KANERE readers,

Welcome to this special edition that comes as the first of the year 2018. The Kakuma News Reflector didn’t have any publication over 2017 as a result of staff going for different things that includes: studies, work and traveling abroad.

However, KANERE is back on reporting again. The paper will remain purely a refugee run news service providing balanced and often untold horrible stories of camp life, humanitarian service deliveries and human rights.

As you may know, Kakuma is a highly cosmopolitan camp and life is one of continual dynamics which is fostered by the humanitarian setting of keeping the existing numbers and alternating new arrivals into the camps as sources of aid business. The more the numbers of refugees, the more campaigns would be momentum for more funding to the camps. Also, it’s a problem when there is a reduced number of refugees in the camp as the effect would be little funding which often leads to reduction in staffing, creating of gaps and cartels on refugee operation in-country or at the Africa bureau.

Nonetheless, despite the continuing high numbers of residents, Kakuma and Dadaab have encountered the worst humanitarian times recently as result of famine. Food rations were cut twice in 2017 as an outcome of condensed funding from the UN body after president Trump came to power. Several humanitarian agencies had to decelerate some of their refugee assistance programs in Kenya including RSC Africa – US Refugee Admission Program.

In Kakuma refugee camp, Trump’s negative policies on refugees have led to a perception of reduced freedom, safety and social connection among the refugee families who are torn apart globally.

Over several months Kakuma has experienced insecurity problems that has resulted in looting of homes at night, attacks that have caused injuries including sexual violence often committed by thugs who are armed with guns.

In an article from later April, a political refugee was murdered in the camp by Kenyan armed forces on an unjustified allegation of theft. Eight months down the line the murder of a refugee man remain a misery to relatives and the community.

A story on Kenya’s black market in “Refugee real estate” details its informal system of shelter ownership, and lack of formal legal protection that allow systematic corruption inside the camp among other stories.

We would like to welcome comments, opinions, criticisms and expert contribution to our editorial by writing to us at kakuma.news@gmail.com.

Sincerely,

Qaabata Boru
Editorial Executive – KANERE

Quotes of the months for August, November – December Edition 2017

Posted in Quotes of the Month by KANERE on February 11, 2018

“The police are supposed to solve land conflicts and refer the case for resolution. However, if the police see money in the conflict, they take bribes from both parties. The winner is often the one who paid more,”

– says a refugee with experience in shelter disputes/ “Kenya’s black market in “refugee real estate”

“I counted ten bullets holes in his body, two on the neck,” a close relative of Saladhin told KANERE,”

– a close relative of Saladhin told KANERE/ “Political refugee killed by Kakuma police”

“I am in fear for my life, and I am not sure what to do with my business,”

– Farhan told the KANERE journalist at his shop in November/ “Refugee business entrepreneur facing life threats”

“I was trying to resist and I got one of them down but when the other hit my head with a sharp machete, I fell down,”

               – Ali told KANERE/ “Refugee man shot and wounded”

“I heard him crying and asking for mercy for more than ten minutes, then gun rumbles followed,”

–  an anonymous witness told KANERE/ “Political refugee killed by Kakuma police”

“As a single mother, i needed more than the food supplied by the UN. So, i came up with this plan of baking and selling biscuits,”

                   – explains Axlam, a Somali woman living in Kakuma/ “Kenya’s black market in “refugee real estate”

“Land allocation is a big factor but we’re determined to see peaceful co-existence between the refugees and local community,”

– claimed Governor Nanok speaking at a previous World Refugee Day event/ “Refugee business entrepreneur facing life threats”

“We gathered at the scene of murder, we were shocked and nobody can question the police action,”

                 – a Sudanese local elder addressed the mourning crowd/ “Political refugee killed by Kakuma police”

“I was beaten in the market by local women (Turkanas) for a reason not known to me,”

               – Felicia, a business woman in Kalobeyei told KANERE/ “Refugee business entrepreneur facing life threats”

“I was on the ground, then the trio move backwards and one of them fired the gun at me. That was all I could remember,”

               – Ali told KANERE in an interview/ “Refugee man shot and wounded”