10 November 2008
|Rights of urban refugees, like this woman in Nairobi, and IDPs in Kenya are still up for debate. (Peter Balleis SJ/JRS)|
|To improve the situation efforts have to be concentrated on improving security and protection in the camps.|
Ndungu Wainaina, executive director for the International Centre for Conflict and Policy, says Kenya has no specific policy on internal displacement and no domestic law on protection and resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). The country is yet to apply the protocols it signed under the Great Lakes Process – a set of 10 agreed upon by countries in the Horn, East and Central Africa which, among other issues, provide for the protection and assistance to IDPs as well as the property rights of returning persons.
However, government representative Ali
IDPs need support
As Fatma Ibrahim from the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights points out, the government has helped the IDPs in terms of medical, financial and food assistance but failed to adequately consult IDPs on the resettlement process and to properly inform them about their rights. She sees a clear violation of the Guiding Principles in the lack of substantive participation of the IDPs in the process, the heavy-handedness from the provincial authorities in some instances and in the fact that some of the IDPs were given three-day deadlines to leave the camps. Fatma Ibrahim stated that “there seems to be insufficient information to the IDPs on what is available and what they are entitled to.”
JRS has been supporting IDPs in the Rift Valley Province, Kenya, through
education, livelihood programmes and psycho-social assistance since February
this year. Carolyne Savala, Project Director in Kitale says among the different
groups of returnees, those who have no land (the so-called “squatters”) are the
worst affected by the resettlement, as they have no place to return to and
cannot survive long on the 10.000 KSH (130 USD) provided by the government.
Furthermore, some host communities were not prepared to accept returnees from