The Star: ‘I am Kakuma’ airs hopes and dreams of refugees

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Joelle Hangi, 26, was born in Eastern Congo but has been living as a refugee in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Turkana, since 2014. "What I can say about the experience is that first, it was not easy. The transition from a French-speaking country to an English-speaking one was hard," she said. "Everything is new and you don't know how to start life, but despite all the trauma I was going through, I just wanted to continue with my life." According to the Eastern Congo Council of Affairs, the wars in Eastern Congo began in 1994, and the civilians caught in the crossfires have suffered the most. "The death toll in the country has topped 5.4 million, mostly in the east, while nearly three million people remain displaced and more than a million women and girls have been victims of rape," reads the council website. Civilians are targeted for supporting rebel groups or for their ethnic identity. "They have been robbed, displaced from their…


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I. THE CURRENT SITUATION: INFLUX OF REFUGEES, VIOLENCE, AND TERRORISM The circumstances of refugees in Kenya are defined by the protracted crises in neighboring countries. The ongoing Somali Civil War, conflict in South Sudan, the Rwandan Genocide, the Congo Wars, and violence in eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo have caused hundreds of thousands of people to flee to Kenya.[1] As of May 2019, the refugee population in Kenya is estimated at 476,695 people, the majority of whom are housed in Dadaab Refugee Complex close to the border with Somalia, and Kakuma Refugee Settlement close to South Sudan.[2] Violence in and around the camps is a significant threat to the refugees themselves and the local populations in proximity.[3] Tension and aggression exist between the refugees and local populations adjacent to the camps.[4] Near Kakuma, the indigenous Turkana people live in tension with the refugees, especially as the camp expands into Turkana grazing areas.[5] Furthermore, violence is common among…

ISS: What does the climate refugees judgment mean for Africans?

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On 20 January the United Nations Human Rights Committee ruled that returning people to countries where their lives could be threatened by climate change may violate their human rights and be unlawful. This is a landmark ruling because it’s the first time the committee has recognised that climate refugees exist. It opens the door to refugee protection for those whose lives are threatened by climate change. The ruling acknowledges the severe challenges of climate change and puts pressure on nations to do more to prevent it and protect people from its effects. However many ambiguities remain about climate-linked migration, particularly in and from Africa. The case was brought to the UN by Kiribati national Ioane Teitiota against New Zealand. Kiribati is a group of low-lying Pacific islands that don’t rise higher than 3m above sea level. Climate change and rapid population growth have led to severe overcrowding, fresh water and food shortages, and violent land disputes. The climate change risks included rising sea…

A Generation in Limbo: Protracted Refugee Situations in Kenya Must Be Addressed (SOURCE: New Security Beat)

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The 1951 Refugee Convention spells out refugee rights, including the right to freedom of movement. Yet 68 years later, 15.9 million people are trapped in prolonged exile, living as refugees for anywhere from 5 to 47 years and counting. The unprecedented duration of protracted refugee situations (PRS) and the increasing scale of forced migration demand a comprehensive response beyond humanitarian assistance.   Of the record 70.8 million people displaced by persecution and violence in 2018, more than 25.9 million were refugees, of which 15.9 million were in 49 protracted refugee situations. These figures demonstrate the severity of the crisis within a catastrophe. Failure to address the root causes and mitigate the risks will lead to irregular secondary movement of refugees from poor to rich countries, waste of human potential, and possible radicalization of jobless youth who are stuck in limbo without a future. After living for more than a decade in limbo in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, I was one of the lucky few who were given the…

UNHCR: Birth certificates signal brighter future for stateless children in Kenya

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Emma Muguni smiles through her tears as she holds her six children’s birth certificates in her hands. From now on, she will not need to worry about their future here in Kenya. They are among the 600 birth certificates recently issued to children from the stateless Shona community in Kenya for the first time. “My prayer has always been that they would not have to struggle like I did,” says Emma. “They are always sent home from school to get their birth certificates. Now with this piece of paper, they can go to different places, and they can make a life for themselves.” The Shona community arrived in Kenya from Zimbabwe as Christian missionaries in the 1960s. They carried Rhodesian passports and were registered as British subjects. After Kenya’s independence in 1963, they had a two-year window to register as Kenyans, which many missed, rendering them stateless. Click here to continue reading from the original source. 
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