Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Kenya closing its refugee camps Somalis and South Sudanese affected

Kenya is part of the Swahili Coast, Swahili languages and culture as well as a popular tourist destination in East Africa. There is more to Kenya than just safari adventures and wildlife. Nairobi has been experiencing an economic and construction boom. Mombasa and Lamu are also cities worth visiting for the Swahili architecture and Indian Ocean.

Kenyan President Kenyetta announces closer of Daadab Refugee Camp

The Kenyan government recently announced that it will be closing all of its refugee camps in the country soon. Kenya has hosted over a 500,000+ refugees generally from neighbouring countries Somalia and South Sudan for several decades now. Although it signed the 1961 United Nations Treaty on Refugee rights and has emphasized with refugees, the government has stated that the camps are only supposed to be temporary and that national security is what's driving the closure. Over 600,000 Somalis live in the world's largest refugee camp Daadab in Eastern Kenya near the border of Somalia. Since 1991, hundreds of thousands of Somalis who arrived at the height of Somali Civil War have grown up and a new generation has been born in Daadab. Like refugees in other hosting countries such as Jordan, Sudan or Lebanon, refugee children and parents were and are still not permited to leave the camp to look for work, go to school with local Kenyan children or even integrate into Kenyan society. Daadab residents have been labelled as refugees and treated as non Kenyan residents or nationals despite the fact that over hundreds of thousands of Daadab residents are Kenyan, want to stay inside the country and have never been to Somalia. Some families can't go back while others have been protesting for their right to stay in Kenya and want to be part of Kenyan society. However, the Kenyan government has insisted that the residents who are currently in Daadab can go to Somalia. Nevermind the fact that only few parts of the country and Mogadishu are peaceful.

Dadaab refugee camp has turned into a tent city of over 80,000 people. It is located in an isolated region of Kenya where the nearest town is hundreds of miles away. To understand the scale, imagine being in a desert valley and being surrounded by nothing else but flat rocky terrain and very few bushes and all of a sudden seeing a huge town without any roads or long lasting infrastructure.


Somaliland which is a semi-autonomous region of Somalia in its Northwest, is the most safest and peaceful region in the entire country. Somaliland declared its indpeendence in 1993 and since than has done well in developing itself without the recognition of the world and African Union. It has one of the stable governments in Eastern Africa and has low crime. But Somaliland has yet to be an fully sovereign country like South Sudan in 2011 and Eritrea was in 1993.

Proud Somalilanders

Kakuma Refugee Camp becomes permanent home

In Northwest Kenya in Turkana County is the refugee camp Kakuma Refugee camp home to some 53,000 South Sudanese refugees fleeing the on going war in South Sudan. For over twenty years, Kakuma has helped to shelter and save thousands of South Sudanese families from being displaced, reuniting larger families, served as a literal refuge for thousands of South Sudan's now famous lost boys and girls who walked thousands of kilometers from their villages, towns and homes during the earlier Sudanese Civil Wars in 1980s-2005 for safety from ongoing bombings by the Sudanese government. Many South Sudanese were able to return home in recent years while others have been resettled in the United States or Britain and other countries.

As Sudanese armed forces continue to do in Nuba Mountains and Darfur, have used disportional force and collective punishment against millions of civilians mostly women and children and elderly and men to fight rebels. Justification is seen to tied to National Security. Now the various South Sudanese rebel group are using the same national security and anti government opposition justification to bomb parts of South Sudan to push back government troops. .

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