The UN report on IDP’s and refugee figures in Kenya

In a report recently issued by Nairobi’s UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), an estimated 8.5 million people have been displaced as at the end of September this year. Out of these figure, 2.04 million people are said to be refugees while 6.47 are estimated to be Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s).

IDP’s still languish in camps

The survey which was conclusively carried out in the twelve East African states further reveals that majority of the cases reported are commonly believed to have been caused by internal conflicts brewed by political instigations. However, it emerged in the report that majority of the refugees are hosted in Kenya and specifically in the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps-located in North-Eastern region of Kenya. Majority of the refugees recorded in Kenya according to figures issued by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) are believed to have come from the neighboring lawless Somalia country.

The findings of the report emerge at a time when the Prevention, Protection and Assistance to Internally Displace Persons (IDP’s) Bill (2012) has already been passed in the August House seeking to address the need to provide protection to all displaced persons whose grievances are believed to have been attributed by violence, and disaster across the nation. The remedies offered in the Bill aim at protecting the IDP’s against infringement of their personal rights which include right to compensation for their lost property among others.

In reference to a statement issued in the report, “For the Government to implement the Bill, adequate funding would be deemed necessary to fully facilitate the due procedures. This would be in line with the provisions provided by the Great Lakes Protocol and International Guiding Principles on the management of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s) affairs.” However, the report applauded the Kenyan Government for the effort it has showed towards addressing the issues of the IDP’s in the country which included a resettlement program of the 2007/08 victims of the post-election violence that erupted in most sections of the country.

According to OCHA, 663,921 people were displaced during the violence that rocked the nation and out of these; about 350,000 people are believed to have sought refuge in camps around the country which totaled to about 118. An estimated 640 families sought refuge in the neighboring Uganda and over 313,000 others were successfully integrated with other communities across the country. About 420 households have so far managed to make a return to the country with the remaining lot still remains undecided on the way forward.

Though the Post-Election Violence (PEV) is believed to have been the worst tragedy to have hit Kenya in the recent past, in August 2012, over 12,000 people were displaced in the Tana River District over internal disputes leaving over 116 people lifeless.

Inter-communal conflicts, especially in north-eastern Kenya and Tana River County in south-eastern Kenya also resulted in significant internal displacements. Though the issues have never been fully addressed as to now, the raging battles between the Pokomo and its neighboring communities still remain a thorn in the flesh for the governmental agencies and to a great extent, the security docket.

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