StarTribune: Members to allow Somali refugees to work

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East Africa's regional bloc said Saturday it gradually will allow the hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees sheltering in its countries to work and will include them in planning efforts. It is a step forward for nations like Kenya, which hosts the world's largest refugee camp and where refugees are not allowed to work, but it's not enough, said an Amnesty International expert on refugees, Victor Nyamori. "It must be backed up by concrete action," he said. East African countries already are signatories of U.N. treaties that say refugees should be allowed to work but that has not been put into practice, he said. Only Uganda seems to have progressive legislation to let refugees work and settle, he said.  The Intergovernmental Authority on Development summit on Somali refugees comes as Somalia again faces the threat of famine, with about half its estimated 12 million population threatened. Droughts and instability already have displaced more than 2 million Somalis in recent decades,…

Daily Nation: IDPs await compensation 10 years on

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It is 10 years since they were displaced from their homes. They are still clinging to hope that the government will compensate them as promised. The memories of 2007-2008 post-election violence brings them to tears. Theirs is a long wait for the Sh200,000 compensation promised by the government that they hoped would wipe away their tears and give them consolation that someone cared after all. This is the fate of over 14,000 displaced people in Kisii who used to live in different parts of Rift Valley when the violence broke out. At least 9,000 people live in Kisii County and the rest in the neighbouring Nyamira. Speaking on Wednesday as President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto toured Gusii region, the President said the displaced will be compensated next month. Opposition leader Raila Odinga asked him to ensure the post-poll victims were compensated. Their chairman, Alfred Akama, said they had tried to follow up on their compensation to no…

Daily Nation: President Kenyatta appeals for increased support for Somalia

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President Uhuru Kenyatta has lauded various organisations for facilitating peaceful elections in Somalia, pointing it out as a step in the right direction. Mr Kenyatta also rooted for durable solutions to the Somali refugee problem. He said the presidential election is the latest indication that the war-torn nation is on the right track, thanks to the determination of its people, the commitment by the African Union and the support of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad). "Indeed, the recent election of President Mohammed Abdullahi Mohammed is the latest and clearest indication of the progressive success of our collective efforts, alongside the brave people of Somalia," he spoke during the Igad summit in Nairobi today. The purpose of the meeting is to find a lasting solution to the refugee crisis in Somalia. "What is clear to me, as it is to you leaders and to all the Somali refugees, is that the time for lasting solutions is now," President Kenyatta, who…

Citizen: IGAD to facilitate return of Somali refugees

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The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has resolved to facilitate the voluntary return of Somali refugees in safety and dignity by addressing the root causes of displacement. In a communiqué issued at the end of an IGAD special summit on durable solutions for Somali refugees hosted in Nairobi by President Uhuru Kenyatta in his capacity as the regional body’s rapporteur, the IGAD leaders agreed to support the strengthening of security and stability in Somalia. They cited enhancing the discharge of the mandate of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and reinforcing the capacity of the National Security Forces of Somalia as key components of boosting security and stability in the Horn of Africa nation.  The IGAD regional leaders also agreed to bolster the protection of refugees and respond effectively to the drought in the region to prevent new forced displacement. Other recommendations of the summit included the strengthening of the capacity of countries in the region to contribute to…

The Guardian: Why denying refugees the right to work is a catastrophic error

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From the 1980s on, a dominant international approach has been taken towards the majority of the world’s refugees. Concentrated in a small number of host countries, close to war zones, displaced people have been settled in what have become known as “humanitarian silos”. Such places are usually remote, arid, dangerous and almost always have strict prohibitions on socio-economic activity. They are designed to deal only with the emergency phase of refugee intake, and yet the model has endured, leaving individuals and families stranded for years at a time. This strategy undermines autonomy and dignity. It also erodes human potential by focusing almost exclusively on people’s vulnerabilities, rather than on rebuilding their lives. Inevitably, many of those directly affected by it become disillusioned and choose to move on, gravitating towards urban areas in the host nation or risking their lives crossing oceans to other countries.  We need to rethink the humanitarian silo. What are the key rights that refugees are entitled…
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