Themes - 11 octobre 2010

fr - Kenya, Refugees and IDPs

According to UNHCR Kenya has 376,467 registered refugees and it is estimated that there are many more who are not on the books. Kenya is host to many refugees, from Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea. Kakuma, the largest camp, is in the desert area of the north of Kenya, and has now become almost a permanent fixture, with many NGOs including the Jesuit Refugee Service giving education and counseling and social services of all kinds.

Apart from the refugees, Kenya has got her own people who are always on the move.  A big number of people are moving from rural to urban areas looking for jobs. In the past the income from agriculture has been large ; now due to the climate changes the country has suffered from drought and there is not enough food to feed everyone, so people move to the big towns in search of jobs.
The government on its side is trying to conserve the environment and that again will come at a cost ; there are millions of Kenyans who live in forest reserves and the government has started a process of evicting them (photo). Another problem facing Kenya is political instability. We have more than 500,000 Kenyans who have been displaced since the end of 2007 after the General Election conflicts. More than a thousand people were killed. The government through the help of the United Nations has tried to resettle them but there are thousands who are still in the camps.
We also have a significant brain drain : teachers, doctors and nurses among others who are moving out of the country to look for jobs in the USA, South Africa and other countries, Daily Nation 22nd December 2009, (

The headline of the East African, December 21-27, 2009 ( reads : “Al Qaeda-trained Somali militia waiting to explode”. The story on the front page says “Amison peacekeepers in the country say many Somali Americans, Somali Canadians, American nationals, Pakistani nationals, Afghan, Ugandan and Kenyan youth have been recruited into Al Shabaab and are receiving training from Al Qaeda commanders in suicide bombing, remote control roadside bombings and bomb manufacturing.” Somalia borders Kenya and in the last few weeks people have been moving to Kenya in big numbers.
In actual fact when we talk of migrations it is hard to give a figure. Fear is all around and people are moving hoping to get security.