Daily Nation: Music is our gift from Kakuma to the world

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Mercy Akuot aka Akuot (South Sudan) and Kendrick Ebei aka Scoobylincos (Turkana) are from Kakuma. The two have been working under a project by Wyre and FilmAid: “Making Stars-Kakuma”. This week, both released spanking new individual singles along with the videos for them. Akuot has a soothing, goose bump inducing R&B song titled “Anavyonifanya”, while Scooby has a scorching rap track, “Hapa Kazi Tu”. Both tracks were produced by super producer Herbalist under Love Child Records in a joint collaboration with the FilmAid initiative. Akuot Mareng’ Mercy is a 24-year-old South Sudanese, originally from Bor, trying to piece her life back together. After having to flee Kampala in 2015, in circumstances she only names as “personal insecurity”, she found herself in Kakuma. She expresses herself as a well-learned individual, which can only attest to the sacrifices she has undergone in order to assure her safety, even if settlement in a refugee town was her only option. “I had to really…

Allafrica: Conflict-Torn Somalia Faces Influx of Returning Refugees

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MORE than 107 000 Somali refugees have returned to the country mostly from neighbouring Kenya where their future is threatened by plans to close refugee camps. Kenya plans the Dabaab refugee camps citing financial constraints and the facilities degeneration into breeding the al-Shabaab insurgents. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) of the 2 274 refugees that returned since September, 1 509 arrived from Kenya while 532 were from Yemen, 232 from Djibouti and one from Eritrea. Since 2014, a total of 107,392 Somali refugees have returned to Somalia including 76 612 from Kenya. A total of 33 154 have been living from Yemen while 626 were from other countries of asylum. The return to Somalia is also attributed to the fact that these countries that Somalis had fled to after decades of problems are now beset by conflicts of their own. Returnees who have opted for voluntary repatriation are entitled to receive an enhanced return package…

Berea Mail: Permits still a major challenge for refugees

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DESPITE South Africa being very welcoming to refugees, documentation of refugees still remains the biggest challenge. So says Makusha Hupenyu, co-ordinator at the Durban Refugee Pastoral Care. Refugees are required to have a special permit, which allows them move around the country, get employment, access education and documents all their details. Permits must be renewed every six months. The Durban Refugee Patoral Care centre is based at the Denis Hurley Centre at the Emmanuel Cathedral and is responsible for handling all matters affecting all foreign nationals in the area of the Archdiocese and beyond. Since its inception in 1999 more than 25 000 refugees and asylum seekers have been assisted. “South Africa has an urban refugee policy which says come to South Africa, we welcome you, but you have to look after yourself. With documentation being the biggest challenge, it becomes difficult for refugees to look after themselves. You cannot get employment or an education if you are not documented.…

The Star: Sex for registration, bribes for resettlement frustrate Oromo refugees and asylum seekers

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No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark, says poet and activist Warsan Shire in her book Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth. To Oromos and Ogadens, Ethiopia has become a shark's mouth that has swallowed their freedom, justice, dignity and lives. To escape the violence, jail or at worst death, many have opted to flee, to seek refuge across the region. However, for those fleeing to Kenya or other neighboring countries for asylum, severe dangers keep stalking them miles away from their persecutor. This is thanks to the indifference of the United Nation Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) and the government's Refugee Affairs Secretariat (RAS). Ongoing protests in Oromia region have been met with brutal crackdowns by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn's government. The ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front party, which has been in power since 1991, is accused of high-handedness against the dissenting voices, forcing thousands to flee the country. But even…

The Guardian: Tensions flare as food rations to refugees slashed by half in Uganda

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The flood of people fleeing South Sudan, coupled with delays and constraints on funding, has lead to food rations to refugees being slashed by half. According to agencies working on the ground in Uganda, where most of the refugees have been arriving from the conflict across the border, food supply lines are being shut down and distribution of aid becoming increasing irregular.  The UN’s World Food Programme said it was forced to cut the amount of grain it was handing out due to delayed payments. “When the funding comes late it takes a bit longer to secure the cereals. It means that you have to go to the markets to procure, transport, store and distribute,” said El Khidir Daloum, WFP director for Uganda. In the last fortnight, South Sudanese refugees at Nyumanzi settlement in Adjumani, which hosts about 20,000 people, protested in front of officials from the prime minister’s office. Titus Jogo, refugee desk officer in Adjumani, said that they had to…
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