I received the following message from some African refugee workers I am in contact with in my day job. This is stuff you won’t see on ABC, BBC, PBS or written about in UN Reports. It is a Call from those whose voice has been voiceless in Dadaab, Kenya. I have not corrected any grammar, syntax or spelling. I am posting this as I received it.
Dear All the concerned Memebers,
With humble respect, on behalf of the refugees living in the camps of Dadaab, we would like to share our grievances with the world and ask for you to help us find our way to freedom.
Our lives in the camps are far worse than you can imagine. We live in an open prison, far away from justice and humanity. We talk, but our voices are never heard. We move, but only inside a cage. We have many skills and talents, but we are denied our chance to maximize our potential. We are chained to a life full of stress and despair; a life for which many would prefer death. We are denied opportunities for education and employment. We live in a condition without adequate water, food, or health facilities. We are arbitrarily beaten or detained by police within the confines of the camp. We lack the ability to freely express ourselves or have control over the decisions affecting our lives.
For those of us lucky enough to obtain employment with the agencies, we are exploited through the payment of mere “incentive” wages, while national and international staff receive much greater payment and benefits. How can you force us to live in a certain place that denies us our human rights and our basic needs?
This note wishes to express some of the challenges we face here in the refugee camps of Dadaab in the hopes that we will be given a chance to have greater control over our lives, and have our fundamental human rights fulfilled. Although the challenges and abuses we face are numerous, we will only briefly mention some of our main grievances, including restricted movement, exploitative working conditions, poor service deliver, and false information and abuse by UNHCR and other agencies operating in the camps.
For many of us, the restrictions on movement and the conditions in our forced confinement have caused more psychological, economical, and health problems than diseases and wars have caused.
We ask the Kenyan government, the other governments of Africa, and the people of the world to hear our voices, see our condition, and look further into our situation. We only want our chance to thrive, to live our lives, to visit our family members, to attend school, to receive medical treatment, to help support our families, and to have control over the economic and policy making decisions affecting our lives. We only want the chance to live as other human beings live, with a hope for the future.
Please hear our cries, allow us to move freely from this open prison, and provide us the opportunity to live our lives, support ourselves, and pursue our dreams!
Some of us have faced the imprisonment of the refugee camps of Dadaab since 1991, while others of us are newly arriving. Although there have been changes and developments over the past nineteen years, our restricted movement has caused and continues to cause our underdevelopment and deterioration. Many people have died from simple diseases because they could not move to get treatment in Garissa (a town only 90 km from Dadaab). Many parents have remained separated from their children who disappeared from the camps because they could not move to search for them or inquire of their whereabouts. Many students have missed their chances for educational opportunities, have failed to take their final examinations, or have been unable to obtain education certificates earned because they could not receive the permission to move. Many people have been forced into greater poverty by being denied the chance to work and by having to pay three times the price of goods in other regions because they can not move to get cheaper goods for consumption or business. Perhaps worse still, many who have tried to move have been beaten, arrested, detained, and/or forced to pay heavy bribes or fines of large amounts of money they never imagined.
Exploitative Working Conditions
Ever since the creation of the refugee camps of Dadaab in 1991 and 1992 and thereafter, UNHCR and the agencies operating in the refugee camps of Dadaab have relied for their operations on the exploited labor of the refugee communities. Whether skilled or unskilled labor, refugee staff members have worked in conditions and received wages that are in violation of national and international labor laws. While many of the refugee staff in the agencies work tirelessly for the agencies and their fellow refugees, they still merely receive “incentives” for their hard work and dedication. Even highly experienced individuals, some of whom have graduated from Universities, colleges, and secondary schools in Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Congo, Sudan, etc., receive unlivable wages, let alone wages commensurate with their experience. In addition to the dreadfully low, unlivable wage, refugee staff members are discriminated against in their payment. Specifically, although refugee staff members work as many hours and complete as many or more tasks as national or some international staff members, refugee staff members are paid significantly lower amounts and are called the derogatory name of “incentive” staff members receiving not wages or a salary but “incentives.” Indeed, though the work load given refugee staff members often exceeds that national/international staff members, refugee staff members are not given their proper respect or payment.
In a related manner, refugee staff often face harsh and discriminatory treatment by national and international staff of UNHCR and the agencies. Several national and international staff frequently use harsh commands and create a difficult work environment, and are given titles of officers even though they do not have as much experience or strong work ethic as the refugee staff members. As an example of the unfair treatment of refugee staff members, these staff members often have to queue for long hours simply to receive their payments and such long lines often cause staff members to miss the limited opportunities to receive their payment and in turn delay their receipt of their hard earned payments. As another example, refugee staff members have great difficulty receiving transportation services of the agencies, sometimes even when travel is required by their jobs. Also, refugee staff members are often not given opportunities for training or scholarships, or even if they do receive such opportunities they are not given work permits at the end of even multiple degrees. Moreover, refugee staff members are not allowed to take part in decision making about the refugee programmes ironically that the refugee staff members usually must implement and that are intended to benefit refugee beneficiaries. Similarly, refugee staff members are not afforded an opportunity to participate in planning, writing project proposals, or otherwise participating in any other management functions despite in many circumstances years of experience and knowledge about the refugee communities who are supposedly the beneficiaries of the agencies’ programs and the conditions in which they live and operate. Indeed, refugee staff members are not even provided meaningful opportunities to present feedback that is received, considered, and/or implemented. Incentive Wages At the heart of the exploitation of refugee staff members lies the entire system of “incentive workers.”
The agencies in the camps of Dadaab divide staff into three main categories:
§ International staff
§ National staff
§ Incentive staff
While national and international staff have relatively similar salaries, working conditions, and privileges, the so-called incentive staff are barely paid, are discriminated against, and are often treated with disrespect. The national and international staff members have every thing required for the fulfillment of the respective work such as transport, office tools and equipment, refreshments etc. at their disposal. At the same time, the refugee staff generally have no such access despite the fact that the national and international staff often greatly depend upon the refugee staff in order to carry out their duties, gain access to and understand the refugee communities, and break through language barriers and cultural differences. Yet, while the incentive staff are indeed the back bone of the agency operations in the camps, the relationship between these two sets of staff and the treatment of refugee staff members is horrible.
The agencies and UNHCR continue to simply pay only meager incentives, which are minimal amounts in and of themselves and are not accompanied by any significant bonuses, benefits, allowances, pensions, separation payments, or other components of standard national and international staff contracts even for refugee staff members that have been working for over a decade. An incentive worker will earn as little as 50 – 90 USD per month, regardless of the number of years of experience, seniority in employment or academic qualifications. Indeed, the skills, academic credentials, and experiences varies significantly across the work force of refugees, ranging from primary school leavers to those with multiple Masters degrees and diplomas who have worked for more than a decade. Yet all are subject to harsh conditions and meager payment. In addition, the ill treatment and lack of respect for refugee staff and their tireless efforts has taken its physical and emotional toll on many staff members, and in fact some young professionals have developed psychological problems due to the frustrations they face while others have chosen to even risk their lives to return to their respective homelands in the hopes of finding an adequate means of survival for themselves and their families. Moreover, the vast disparities between refugee staff and national/international staff continues to create envy and hatred among the staff of the same agency.
The incentive system is often claimed to be necessary because of limited budgetary resources and because refugee staff members are not allowed to officially work under Kenyan law. However, in actuality, these supposed justifications serve only as mere excuses for the agencies to hide behind so that they can continue to exploit refugee labor. With respect to the limited resources, first of all limited resources can not serve as an excuse for exploiting refugee labour. Moreover, the amount of money that is wasted if not skimmed off the top by the agencies reaches huge amounts; if there are indeed limited resources, the agencies could shift resources away from ineffective trainings, corrupted individuals, and high paid national and international staff in order to adequately pay incentive staff members.
In a related manner, in line with the problem noted above of not including refugee staff in decision-making and managerial tasks: the agencies should “open the books” and allow refugee staff members to be a part of resource allocation decisions. With respect to the inability for refugees to work under Kenyan law, again the agencies and not the Kenyan government are setting the amounts of the incentive wages and if the agencies are able to legally provide incentives at all then the agencies can not point the finger at anyone other than themselves with respect to the exploitative amounts that are arbitrarily set by UNHCR and the agencies. Moreover, UNHCR and agencies are able to obtain work permits for refugee staff members in Nairobi and elsewhere when they deem it appropriate. Further, it is the obligation of UNHCR to advocate on behalf of refugees’ right to work and pressure the government of Kenya to follow its obligations under the Refugee Convention to allow for such rights.
We ask members of the international community to step up for this matter and come forward to help us refugee staff members regain our human dignity and equality and fairness for all in terms wage earning, working conditions and decision-making. Furthermore, we ask that international human rights bodies and the International Labor Organization study and scrutinize the years in which our talents, skills and services have been exploited and abused by the agencies in Dadaab. The title “incentive worker” The title given to the refugees working with the humanitarian agencies is itself exploitative and demeaning. Literally the word incentive means something given to some in order that he/she keeps the same spirit in the course of an operation; however the magnitude of the incentive in the camps of Dadaab is negligible. Considering the workload carried out by the staff or employees drawn from the refugee community, it is the case that refugee workers form the backbone of the humanitarian operations in the Dadaab camps. Indeed, without these workers, the agencies would suffer an acute shortage of human resources. Given the fact that the title “incentive” does not actually sound proper, the refugee workers often feel discouraged and humiliated to be called an incentive worker, which even can weaken the productivity and output of the workers. Furthermore the title incentive widens the already expansive gap between the refugee workers and the national and international staff, which further hinders the cooperation necessary to achieve the important goals of the humanitarian operations in Dadaab.
The more favorable the working conditions, the more efficient an employee will be in her/his daily undertakings, and the more cooperative relations amongst different categories of staff members, the more likely the operations in general will be successful. Thus, if only from the point of view of improving operations in Dadaab, the title of the refugee staff should be changed, the disparity in wages must be closed, and the working conditions must be improved. Harmonization Incentive Document for 2010 A memo concerning the “harmonization of refugees incentive workers wages” was developed by UNHCR in collaboration with all of the NGOs working in the refugee camps; some of the NGOs have shown skepticism about the effects of the document but the policy has been passed without adequate input or consideration of the viewpoints of current refugee staff members. While we recognize the potential positive effect of raising the wages of those agencies paying the lowest amounts, harmonization should only result in a harmonization upward. Moreover, we believe that individuals should be paid wages that are both living wages and appropriate for their jobs and their level of expertise and experience. The document is totally contradicting the conventions to the refuges. Indeed this is a practical evidence that UNHCR is violating the international conventions and protocols relating to the provisions and service of the refuges instead of promoting, it.
Furthermore, the UNHCR has not increased a sigle coin to the refguee workers and what it done was a cheating withno consultation to the concerned parties; indeed the amount that was dedected from the fellow refugee workers were increased for the other fellow refguee workers thus, creating envy and hatered among the working refguee workers!. In this world it has never been noticed that somesone’s pay is lowered without proper justifications.
Despite the fact that many other irrlguralies that can not be not be summarized is ongoing on daily, weekly, monthly or annually basses within the confines of the refugee camps of Dadaab.
Poor Service Delivery
The Dadaab refugee camps were established in the wake the devastating civil wars and persecution in neighboring countries, such as Somalia, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda, Burundi, Congo, and Eritrea. While we are grateful for the support that has been provided to those who have had to flee from their home countries, it is incredible that nearly twenty years after their adoption, their remains terrible problems in the service delivery and operations of the various agencies operating in the Dadaab camps: UNHCR, WFP, CARE, NRC LWF, IRC GTZ –IS, WINDLE TRUST KENYA, DRC HI, MSF, etc. The food distribution sector, the education sector, the medical care sector, the water and sanitation sector, and the land allocation and shelter sectors provide just a few of the many examples of the continuing and sometimes worsening poor service delivery. Food While the refugees in the Dadaab camps do appreciate the relentless efforts of the international community to ensure that the refugees in the Dadaab camps are given food, we ask the international community if a three (03) kilograms of maize and 50 grams of oil is enough to feed a person for a period of 15 days. This meager amount does not meet international standards. Worse still, a quarter of the amount claimed to be given is often stolen during food distribution, in large part because the workers of the food distribution are not adequately paid and are thus encouraged to steal from the beneficiaries. How can refugees be forced to remain in camps, told for twenty years that they are not allowed to work and raise their own livelihood, and then not be given enough food to feed themselves and their families?
Education in the camps consists of several primary schools and secondary schools and other adult learning literacy institutions. While education, especially at the primary level, is a basic need and right, various factors have limited the quantity and quality of education provided in the camps of Dadaab. At the most basic level, the camps’ population has swollen thrice in recent years, while the capacity has only minimally increased. The focal organization for education in the camps, CARE international in Kenya, has not done a good enough job at increasing the education capacity. Poor quality education is matched with poor infrastructure, as many of the buildings remain the same as those built in 1992 to accommodate some 97,000 refugees while the population has currently grown to nearly 300,000. We have 18 primary schools across the three camps with an average of 3500 pupils per school. These large numbers of learners face many challenges in school. The general ratio of teachers to pupils is 1:80; a situation that has forced many learners to become dropouts, ending up on the market streets. All the 18 mentioned primary school are registered as Kenyan National examination centers while the learners in grade 8 (standard eight) must sit for the national exams in November of each year. The Kenya national examination law states that for a school to be a centre for national examination, there should be a least one trained teacher per class in that school; contrary to this law the schools in Dadaab do not have adequately trained P1 teachers. Yet the ministry of education of the government of Kenya officially has accepted this situation, which has resulted in poor performance in all these 18 schools. Another factor affecting education is the issue of payment. A teacher who is expected to serve as a role model, shape the study and character of various children, and teach the next generation of students, receive some of the lowest wages, lower even than donkey cart riders. The low payment causes more qualified individuals to seek other jobs, and for those who remain as teachers to have little motivation to do a good job in their work. Another problematic feature of the education system is that although as many as 4000 pupils sit for their national exams (KCPE), only roughly 120 students from each camp will have the opportunity to move on to secondary school, and even fewer of those who complete secondary school will have opportunities for further education after high school. Courses in Kenya University and colleges, despite funding by the international community, remains limited.
Medical conditions and nutrition have declined since 1992; down the line diseases are increasing while the interventions are relatively minimal compared to the number of patients in the hospital. In addition, as a result of acute malnutrition in the camps and anemia, child mortality rate is on the rise.
Further, due to ongoing fighting in neighboring Somalia, many refugees continue to come to the camps with numerous diseases, injuries, mental sickness, skin diseases and birth defects, many of which are not able to receive medical attention and are told that their ailment is too complicated to be attended to in the camps. As result many patients will converge at UNHCR field offices for their medical concerns but unfortunately UNHCR protection unit staff will keep refugees waiting and only refer them to the same doctors, nurses, and medical facilities that are already stretched too thins Which are expected to assist roughly three hundred deliveries per month in each of the camps. Currently, we have three medical charity organizations in camps MSF SWIZ in Dagahaley, IRC in Hagadera, and GTZ-IS in Ifo. Yet, especially due to the overcrowding, the medical facilities simply do not meet the incredible medical needs in the camps. Some of the most basic issues in the medical care sector include: – Lack of qualified personnel in hospitals – Lack of medicine/ procured – Lack of emergency equipment / ambulance theatre – Lack of adequate facilities or equipment to deal with many of the ailments Water and Sanitation Water and sanitation services are basic and essential; there are 15 boreholes in the camps which supply safe water to the refugee population since water is chlorinated before being supplied. Those boreholes are managed by borehole attendants or incentive workers who work from 6:30am to 6:30pm ever day, even on weekends or public holidays, since water is needed every hour of the day, and yet only earn minimal wages. Similarly, sanitation, waste management, and carcass collection and disposal, as well meat inspections/hygiene promotion are carried out incentives staff while the national staff seem to sit in the office browsing the internet and pretending to be busy in the offices. (Issues of latrine are handled by NRC whiles other sanitary and hygiene activities are done by CARE – RAP Watsan). In addition, the water crisis in the deeply populated Dadaab camps often results in fighting at the tap stands among families, village mates, and block mates. Sanitation and waste management is also worrying. The current network of latrines is hardly maintained and there are not nearly enough latrines for the Dadaab refugees in general. The latrine system in Dadaab camps is far below internationally accepted and minimum standards, such as 1 latrine for every 20 people.
Land Allocation and Shelter
For security reasons and because of the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Somalia, many Somali refugees flee and escape ordeals in the war torn Somalia and seek protection in the Dadaab camps. Yet upon arrival in Dadaab, new arrivals often receive little guidance, orientation, or support to find land, obtain food, seek medical screening or vaccinations, etc. For instance, when a family comes to Dagahaley camp, where registration has been undertaken since 2005, the only thing they receive form UNHCR is a food ration card after waiting for around 10 days.
Finding shelter is often left to the good will of the refugees already living in the camps, despite the fact that severe overcrowding and congestion already exists in the camps. Most of the new arrivals simply build make-shift shelters that are susceptible being washed away by the heavy rains, or they resort to a living under the trees or a “house” where they are exposed to the elements. New arrivals thus face problems related to security, cold, wild animals, poor sanitation, etc. In addition, after registration the new arrivals often do not get non food items that they are intended to receive such as plastic sheeting, a cooking set, Jeri cans, and blankets; even accessing food is hard for new arrivals as they will start getting food from WFP up to 10 days after obtaining registration from UNHCR.
False Information Provided to Community Representatives and Visitors
Although there are the above problems and many more in the refugee camps of Dadaab, often visitors come to Dadaab and are shown a very different picture than the actual reality. Indeed, visitors of various high positions and organizations visit the worlds’ largest refugee camps of Dadaab in north eastern Kenya. Dadaab has in some ways become like a circus display or tourist attraction, with so many visitors coming in and out to see the camps and meet with refugees. Most visitors come with the intention of evaluating how the funds they have donated have been implemented for the target refugees. Visitors who individually only infrequently and occasionally pay visits to the refugee camps are thoroughly misguided about the real information on the ground. Visitors are often taken to pre-arranged places and meet with special people organized to supposedly speak on behalf of the refugees, who often give information that does not inform the visitors of the real circumstances of refugees’ conditions. It is believed that some agency staff members use bribery and other means of influence with refugee leaders whom they think can give substantial and fabricated information to the visitors that will protect and promote the agencies and their supposedly humanitarian work. It is believed that some agency staff members make false promises to such leaders, such as offering resettlement opportunities or contracts in order to entice these leaders to hide the true information about how agencies deal with refugees when high profile visitors come to the refugee camps. In addition, often when high profile visitors come to the camps, their time is scheduled such that they do not meet with many of the true leaders, intellectuals, young leaders, women’s groups and other stakeholders from the refugee community to hear and know from them directly without the presence of the Agency’s representatives. Moreover, the security guards (AGK) are given instructions to be on high alert and only allow those who had been chosen by the agencies to meet with the visitors. For instance during a recent visit by 17 embassies to the refugees camps, our community leaders, intellectual, young leaders and other stakeholders from the refugee community were only given an opportunity to present all of their pressing problems in a mere 45 Minutes, with agency representatives present who could note which refugees spoke and potentially deal harshly with those who spoke after the visitors had left. In addition, on the onset of the arrival of various visitors, agencies attempt to undertake various preparations intended to deceive visitors about the situation in the camps, such as intensive cleaning campaigns, having even senior officers wade through the rubbish, adding new/temporary infrastructure of all sorts (tables, seats, wall hangings/messages, computers, etc.), painting walls, putting up boards and signs to show orgnanized residential and office compounds, and so forth. As but one example, when some high profile visitors were coming to visit the camps in mid-2009, new buildings were constructed, walls were painted, old equipment was hidden, and intense cleaning efforts were undertaken at a surface level in order to deceive the visitors. If the amount of hard work that was taken to make these preparations was done on a daily basis to actually address the problems facing those in the camps rather than simply providing surface level window dressing to please visiting donors and officials, the situation in the camps could much improve. As another example, when an envoy of ambassadors visited the WFP food distributed centre, all of the former containers used for distributing food (which had been cut in size in order to limit the amount of food given to each refugee) were set aside and every individual was allowed to receive a full ration. But these measures only existed during the few minutes when the visitors were present.
Taken together, the agencies make significant efforts to hide the truth of the situation of refugees in the camps of Dadaab when visitors arrive. We therefore make a heartfelt request to the Intentional Community, high profile visitors, media, government officials, human rights bodies, independent journalists and other concerned parties to always think beyond the box while visiting the Dadaab refugee camps, to be skeptical of what they are being shown, to try to ensure that they take some time to talk privately to a number of different refugees, and to visit unplanned areas in order to uncover the true living situation of the refugees and hear their voices longing to determine their uncertain future! Abuse from UNHCR Officers in Dadaab against refugee youth advocating for their rights. National and international staff members of UNHCR and other agencies in the camps of Dadaab often attempt to harass and intimidate refugees who advocate for their own rights. As a recent example, the UNHCR Head of Sub Office, in the presence of elder witnesses, threatened various refugee youth who intended to attend a meeting at his office, shouting that in case any youth came into his (UNHCR) office he would call the police and arrest them. Similarly, the senior Protection Officer has often failed to protect the rights of the refugees while allegations of harassment and human rights abuses flood his office in Dadaab. If UNHCR jeopardizes and denies the basic rights of the refugees in Dadaab Refugee Camps and denies the opportunity for refugees to advocate for their own rights; who will then advocate for the rights of the thousands of the disadvantaged societies in Dadaab camps? It can only be concluded that the UN and other agencies do not wish to see a community who can manage their own affairs independently. It can only also be concluded that the agencies in Dadaab are more political agencies than they are humanitarian agencies, with many agencies undertaking similar tasks and doing little to actually assist refugees as they claim. Moreover, the reports shared by the agencies with the donors often provide false information and figures, including but not limited to false information about living conditions, security, service delivery, movement, education, development, health, water and sanitation, food, and services they allegedly provide but often either do in a sub-standard manner or never have even undertaken at all. While agency staff often argue that refugees have no right to complain because the services they receive are free, it must be noted that agency staff also receive free of charge much better services than the refugees receive, including in the areas of water, medical care, food, housing, electricity, etc. We request from the international community and other concerned parties to help us mange our own affairs and that affect us by giving us a chance to get the jobs we can do for own selves.
In sum, we wish to reiterate that we hope that the international community will hear our cries and undertake efforts to end the exploitation and abuse we face by pressing for an end to restricted movement, a reform of exploitative labor policies, an improvement in service provision, a greater allowance for participation in decisions about service provision to the refugee communities and refugee staff members, and the end to the deception and abusive practices of the Kenyan government, UNHCR, and the other agencies operating in the camps of Dadaab toward the refugees and the international community. Furthermore, the International community and the concerned goverments should watchout carefully the actions of the govermentof kenya, UNHCR and the other Agenceis opertaing in the region decissively and should held account for any inhuman acts. Thanks and looking forward to your immediate durable solutions.
Refugee Silent Welfare Committees
I have nothing much to add to this but confirm that this is the true picture of what happens in the camp on daily basis. Having lived in the camp for 17 years before i secured a scholarship to study in Canada, I have had a good experience both as a refugee and as an “incentive worker” and this truly reflects the harsh conditions refugees live in. the international community pours in millions of dollars every year in aid to Dadaab refugees but i believe less that a quarter of that reaches the intended beneficiaries.
i hope some one would one day help this innocent and tormented people.
I have a question for you! I am currently working with refugees coming from various places around the world. My Somali friends have recently educated me about the situation that has been occuring in Somalia and Ethiopia for so many years, and about life in Dadaab, the Ifo camp in particular. I want to ask you, (or anyone who would like to respond), what is needed the most right now in Dadaab. What can a young person living on the other side of the world do with the information given above? I’ve considered applying for a job or internship with an NGO working in the camps, as I am a social work major and feel that I could help in some small way to relieve the suffering of those many thousands of persons living in the camps. Could you give me your opinion as someone who lived in the camp?
i would suggest that you share this information with donors and probably the western embassies in kenya. they are responsible in coordinating humanitarian aid from their respective governments. or may be we can share the letter with newsrooms. it is also good if you go to the camps and see it for yourself.
i have been staying in Dadaab camp since 1992.i learned here and married here.i have three daughters.now down the line,i was forced out of my home becuse the attackers claimed the ownership of my plot.i coplained to UN and kenyan government and they reffered me to lwf an orgsnistion for security and land issues.unfortunately,nothing was done to my grievances and i spend from block to block hidding my self in the corridors of camps.
now, i woulld like to share with world about my issues and wish to gain ur advices and help.
Could you please contact me with an email address? I’m a Canadian journalist with an interest in Dadaab and would like to discuss it further. Thank you. Curt.Petrovich@cbc.ca
Well said!A succinct and sincere portrayal of the conditions in the camps. This is my opinion too even after moving to the states.
This is the true picture of the refugee camps in Dadaab and i am even sure it is worse than that.if i am the chance to avail the tricks of the agencies,you will be in grief the rest of your life.
i congratulate the heroes and the heroins who collected this data and presented this information.
This sums it up all. But its only a tip of the iceberg of the myriad of problems facing the Dadaab refugee community and the youth in particular.
Its heartening that they are trying to air their voices now and someone is ready to show the world the truth.
I hope someone hears this and things change for the better. My prayers with you.
My heart goes out to these refugees. I hope someone hears theig grieviences and helps better their lives. It is dehumanizing enough to stay in the camps.
I congratulate those who collected and put these stories together for the world to see. Human rights violation at its best!
I pray for a better tomorrow for the youths in the camps.
Dear All, Thanks to all those who have commented truly and indeed those ones who placed on the webpage. Indeed this is true and yet nothing is done to so called Agencies working in Dadaab Refugee Camps.
I was indeed glad to see this information on the webpage and at least people could see or hear what is happening in Dadaab refugee camps which is now almost 20 years old!
There are large number of unreported cases against humanity done and no one is held for that, and yet we hear from the news, see from Tvs and listen from the radios cases against humanity!!.
Please could help me to know when the International community will hear our cries and those responsible for such cases could be brought in front of justice whether he or she works for the Agencies in Dadaab Refugee Camps or the government????. Because the unreported cases and the true living condition is covered with a blanket of false information by the Agencies Thank you for your concerns and comments.
It is heartening to see there are many people interested in the plight of those innocent ones at the Dadaab Refugee Camps.
Once we know about the state of living in the camps by messages like this, the question becomes an urgent one, like Rachel’s above : What can we do with this information?
Do we just read it and rest content while our scren saver plays its familiar motions? Do we talk about it with others?
I think teh first thing is that we become aware and then we must make others aware. From this awareness other actions will happen dependent on the position and circumstances of the person / people who become aware.
My action was placing this information on my blog. I have also spoken with others about it. There may be others in Kenya in position of power who can do something else. There may be others in New York or London or anywhere with connections to media outlets who may wish to go to Dadaab and make a documentary to show the world what is truly happening there.
There are many ways to act according to one’s conscience and one’s ability. The important thing is that we act.
Thanks Mr. Stavros, you have really tried your best to disseminate the unknown forgotten and the plights of the voiceless refugees in Dadaab Kenya.
Please I will urge you to continue propagating this message to every body including the decision makers in governments,private sectors and international bodies so that they could reach a long lasting solutions to their problems.
I am a Journalist, I made several attempts to to visit the centre and denied to film there unless the Department of Refugee Affairs in Nairobi cleared me. They gave me one last condition for my visit – that I should be welcomed by any NGO at the centre of which none of them obliged for fear of being held responsible should the world see the deplorable conditions subjected to this refugees. My fight will not wilt on the dusty roads leading to Daadab, to the victims, I will urge you not to despair, the world will know your problems soon. Anyone in the camp who has a plan to give me access should write to me on this firstname.lastname@example.org
all these information i read from here are true but who can make change if all national and international staff are considered to be highly value and refugees are being looked down,i feel guilty of why my country destroyed,the only answer is that GOD can make change and can judge people equally
I am a Doctor in medecine and I would like to apply for the job also I am ready to volunteer for a while.
Wanted to serve my african’s brothers and sisters in the refugee’s camp in Africa.
Thanks Stavros for your detailed highlights; I do concur with you that; we do not want to sit back and see this information on the blog alone and as well our inbox (s). Everyone among us has a duty to assist the refugees in the Dadaab camps to at a least alleviate their known and concealed sufferings and create a massive awareness to the world what is truly happening.
Rachael, Dadaab Refugee camps is a complex one; indeed if you say you will truly do what you intend to do in assisting the refugee community, there is high a possibility that you might face a lot of challenges both internal and external! But I would have definitely appreciated to see a group people like you who would have gone there!
Please see my suggestions of what can be done to this;
1. To advocate for technical human rights and community activists to come to Dadaab Refugee Camps and should ensure there presence in the region lasts for three weeks meaning spending seven days for each of the camps.
2. To forward such information to all those who can cause at least to change the policies and improve the living condition of thousands of refugees in the camps under rigorous sufferings
3. To request from the International community, donors and the interested governments to have joint experts of fact finding committees in Dadaab Refugee camps who would act as steering community for documenting all sorts of cases from torture to corruption, misuse of donor funds and falsification of reports and activities etc.
4. The international community to assist in setting up an advanced joint committee would oversee all the operations of the Dadaab camps and recommend better policies and living circumstances for the refugee community.
Is it Possible to bring out this story in a feature length news story, how can a Journalist evade scrutiny by the Kenya Police and the camp security?
I do appereciate your good and humanitarian support that you gave to these refugees living in squalid conditions, the first move being posting it on your blog for many people to see and know about these gross human rights violations, however, I do concur with you that these message will travel along way and will probably change these appalling situations that these 300,000 refugees are going through.
please try hard as you have already tried to reach out as many people as you can to assist these voiceless populations in this forgotten world.
Bravo to every one of you for this wonderful work coming out to the rest of the humanity. we at KANERE strongly encourage YOU to continue and keep up the good work,
please check us out on: http://www.kakuma.wordpress.com
KANERE – A Refugee Free Press
waaw! you all agree with me that no situation is permanent in life, to proof this review right back to 1990s, there was hardly to find someone to voice for the plights and atrocities committed to innocent refugees as opposed now, guys be patient and understand changes happens gradually, but let us keep up that spirit and continue to voice, present, docomment, challenge and hope our target goal for attention and support will be achieved sometime soon,
I am refugee in Kakuma refugee camp. I have just find this article and found some smillarities of what is going on in the camp of Kakuma. I want to get connected to some of these refugees who wrote this article for exchange of experiences and information. Kanere will be pleased to publish some news from Daadab. If you don,t mind you can use my email and get intouch with me.
U.S.A is responsible of everything, am saying this because, if not the U.S.A dectates the UN,these refugees would have been given ressetlement longtime ago. U.S.A gives resettlement in a slow process and takes a lot of time. for example, 1992 refugees are still in the camps in large numbers and infact 1991 refugees and yet this order of resettlement was started in 2006 if not 2005. I suggest, let U.S.A give chance other countries who are in need of refugees and not opress the refugees. this is a common problem in all most every refugee camps in the world
I was living in the camps for about 18 years and what was said about the camps are all true,i really appreciate the authors of ths truthfull article,stay safe for ever AMEN
Thanks for your comment.
Surely there must be someone in the world with a camera and a recorder that will document what is happening at Dadaab so that the world will see by picture, hear by refugees’ voices and feel their plight. With today’s technology we can broadcast the video record on YouTube.
The technology is all very good, but we need people with heart, vision and courage to go to Dadaab and give the power to the voiceless to speak using a camera and a voice recorder.
Is there anyone on earth who has the equipment, the time and the intention of visiting Dadaab for this purpose? Can anyone visit?
Thanks all of you, the youth in Dadaab refugee and particularly those who gathered and posted this article sincerely appreciate wholehearted your concerns. We, the youth in Dadaab believe that time has came for us to free ourselves from this imprisonment, and with your support we can achieve. My dear concern people we have suffered beyond untolerable, our sister raped and sexually abused, our mothers moan with pain, our intectual cry in silence, our fathers run mad and manuviour under the acacia trees and ou youth-the future leaders have opted to join the warring parts in Somalia and face the bullet.
Thank you for writing. It is crucial that we hear from you, the people at Dadaab, here on this blog. We need to know what is happening. Do you have contact with those who wrote the “A Voice from the Voiceless” If you do please ask them to give us an update. I understand if you and the others want to remain anonymous.
My friend, often very small things can create HUGE things. Take a seed of a tree, very small, but as time moves on the tree gets so large that birds can perch on it and people can freshen themselves under its shade.
The email I posted here on this blog, is just such a seed. Who know where it will go and how big the awareness of the Dadaab refugees’ plight becomes.
So, please encourage those at Dadaab to write and post here. Please, you, yourself continue to write and encourage the authors of the email to write.
with all my best wishes
Thanks Stavros, I am one of the youth who have written this article. We will be pleased to hear that though we are suffering in the camp but atleast the world have heard our voices. Thanks again for your encouragement we will continue writing and posting our comment. If you wish to have my contact or even the contact of this youth we will give you provided it strictly remain confidential until the time will come.
ASC.whatsoever you have presented there may be true but you should also tel the other side of the story.NGO’s do help
AM PLEASED TO Hear UR DISCUSSIONS.I WOULD LIKE TO COMMENT ON THE EMPLOYEMENT CATOGARIES MENTIONED PERTICULARLY THE INCENTIVE(Refugees) PART.when i calculated the money paid to the working refugee whether he/she is a degree/master holder is 0.3333(25KSH) us dollers per working hour.WHEREAS THE NATIONAL STAFF ARE PAID 300 KSH(4.5US DOLLERS)PER WORKING HOURS.Reports,field assesment,and all the hectic jops are done by the refugee staff while the the National staff and the intyernational staff cook reports in thier offices.
Thank you Abdullahi. I believe that it is almost a miracle that your email reached people in Australia who sent it to me and I put it on my blog! There are webpages that now tell others about your situation.
My sincerest wish is that the webpages become something more real.
What do you want from us, the readers of this article do?
I will contact you privately. Thanks for writing and please encourage others to do so too. You never know how powerful your writing is my friend. You may get assistance sooner than you dreamed 🙂
Thank you secondly for your good and humanitarian work for making sure that the voices of the voiceless is heard beyond Dadaab. we wish you to write as many writings as we can and we want your assistance as an asset to our crusade against the injust practices that we need to fight. As Abdullahi said if you contact the real people discreetly you’ll get more stuff than you have now.
Thanks to all those who took part in contributing the article which is indeed making some real wonders across the globe. Stavros kindly believe it hundreds of people in the refugee camps are appreciating for your earnest efforts on the matter and placing on your blog so that people could see now and then and express their feeling to the atrocities of the refugees in Dadaab
Thanks Abdullahi and Bare for your sincere hard work in coming out strongly and bravely but its significant to have all those who wrote the critique and contributed in principle to have their contacts behind the closed doors. We all understanding the treacherous acts of the UNHCR in Dadaab/Branch offices and its sisters Agencies plus the concerned parties what it would mean to such efforts in telling and speaking to the world on the real matters of the refugees. In fact, they will never allow and accept freedom of expression, corruption and mismanagement free environment for the Dadaab Refugees so they the refugees could live in dignified life and their concerns are addressed harmoniously in accordance with the International provisions and protocols of the refugees.
Thanks to Stavros, for your honestly and humanly efforts in assisting the thousands of refugees in the confined Dadaab camps under despairs, depression, torture, discrimination, marginalization, and all sorts of inhuman acts. Your comments and efforts will ever remain in the hearts of the innocent refugees in the camps.
My sincere wonder is that if a civilian mistreats to the other there is always law and order which settles their case or consequently a court rules out the final verdict after findings and hearing; but now that the World have heard all the cries and miseries of the refugees in Dadaab camps; therefore my question is who is going to court the grave infringement of UNHCR, the Agencies in Dadaab and concerned parties for their well known inhuman acts and among documented of the related cases??? Please can anyone assist in answering this question or put a cross to prominent international lawyers because some of the major root cause of the gross violations of the regulations and protocols are engineered by UNHCR and its Agencies staffs for the sole reason of their self-centered interests!!
In total, let’s all have our strengths together and try to cause what ever good changes/policies that can be done for isolated refugees. My heartfelt appeal also goes to the concerned governments and discussion makers to put comprehensible and visible pressures to all those involved in the prejudice and plight of the refugees both in Dadaab and Kakuma and should be held accountable for!!
My anticipation is that more people will join the blog from Dadaab Refugees in the due course. We would all be glad to see and witness the defined respond of the donors, the international community and concerned governments reaches the refugee in the camps, so that their grave sufferings and depression are alleviated and the provisions of the international refugee laws and conventions are practically implemented and monitored consistently by external experts to avert further human suffering and violation of the International protocols and conventions.
Thanks Noori and all who wish to participate in this discussion I am glad that we are getting more and more joining the discussion. secondly Dear Stavros, you were asking me what the readers can do for the people Dadaab refugee camps. the answer is simply. Dadaab refugee 100% depend on donor funding and the agencies that operate in the camps run the different camps activities with the full support of these donors that may your countries are part and parcel. we believe that by taking up this issue with your country leaders put pressure on Kenyan government and UNHCR some of the problems that is affecting us can be elevated. for example we have mentioned in our article the problem of employment and we understand that because of the PRESSUSE from the government of Kenya and UNHCR that we are not allowed to earn like the Kenyans and international workers in the camp. allow me to give you a live example, a few days ago a colleague of mine applied a job in Nairobi and he has done the interview he was told to produce he work permit and he told the organisation that he is a refugee than he was told we are sorry we can’t offfer you the job because the organisation contacted UNHCR and UNHCR wrote back to the organisation saying refugees in Dadaab can not be allowed to move and work out the designated camps. thanks
I received this today. Those who can please send in a submission for the Dadaab refugees.
A reminder that the Australian Refugee Rights Alliance (ARRA) is calling for brief submissions from individuals and refugee community groups regarding current issues of concern to refugee populations in and from the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa regions.
The due date for submissions is 31 May. Please see the attached information sheet for further details on making a submission. Feel free to distribute this information to your networks. If you have any queries, please feel free to contact me as per the details below.
We look forward to receiving your submissions!
Kind regards, Lucy Morgan Information & Membership Officer Refugee Council of Australia
Suite 4A6, 410 Elizabeth Street Surry Hills NSW 2010 Phone: 61 2 9211 9333 Fax: 61 2 9211 9288 email: email@example.com
thanks Stavros, i have read this mail and i would like you to clarify for us how can the submission of someone in Dadaab be useful to the refugee week in Australia.
If you make the one page submission the people in Australia will give your information and concerns to the Australian Refugee council who have connections with the UNHCR and other global networks with Non Government Organisations (NGO’s).
It just means that your Voice will be heard in a place which may make your voice louder.
I just thought that if you people at Dadaab don’t mind, I can send an email with your original “Voice from the Voiceless” to Refugee Council of Australia. I can ask that they include your concerns in Dadaab when they speak with UNHCR at world meetings. They can, if they wish, state that they received this information from you.
If you allow me to do this on your behalf I will send copies of my email privately to the authors of Voice from the Voiceless.
Do you want me to do this?
Hi Stavos this sounds Good.
On behalf of Hagadera Youth umbrella organisation kindly share with us and send coppies to our address firstname.lastname@example.org or my personal address email@example.com i am under designing a website for Dadab Refugee camps http://www.dadabcamps.com and i wll share with u and every one concerning the Voiceless refugee in Kenya.
Mohamed bashir Sheik (africa)
That sounds good. please go ahead and share with them.
This the letter I wrote on behalf of Dadaab Refugees/ It should be interesting to see what reply I get.
Sent: Fri 5/28/2010 7:48 PM
To: Refugee Council of Australia
Subject: Invitation for submissions to UNHCR-NGO Consultations >>> Dadaab Refugee Camp – Voice of the Voiceless
Dear Ms Morgan
I am writing this on behalf of refugees at Dadaab Refugee Camp. I am an Australian citizen and a global resident.
A while back I received an email from Dadaab Refugee Camp in the form of an article written by some young refugees in Dadaab. It came to me from a local African refugee worker in STARTTS. It is entitled – “A Voice of the Voiceless”. I heard the plea to send this information on and so I posted it on my blog “Journeys and Star Gazing”
I also posted your request for submissons on my blog your info re the submision process – https://dodona777.wordpress.com/?s=dadaab
Please read the Comments on the Voice of the Voiceless post above and you will see an interesting thread. There are other websites that are taking up the issues raised by the above post.
I was asked why would the issues of Dadaab refugees interest Australia and how could it help if ARRA became aware through this submission.
I answered that they want their voice heard and if the ARRA people and the Refugee Council of Australia take on board theirconcerns they can then mention it at a World Conference. In other words, their Voice of the Voiceless may be heard by a wider and influential audience.
I understand that this is not a formal submission but purely a request from the heart. I have long been a human rights activist in the field of refugee rights. If you want search in my blog Woomera, Baxter, Flotillas of Hope, Cultural Stomp, Newcastle Welcome Town for Refugees. All of these projects were instigated as a means of giving Hope to refugees.
Please see this message as a plea to give hope to the authors of “A Voice of the Voiceless” Dadaab Camp.
Thanks Stavros, for your consistent efforts in making the voice of the voiceless be heard at the forthcoming meeting in Geneva where the United Nations is headquartered. In fact that will do a lot if the ARAAR raise the text of the voice of the voiceless people at the forum will be a wonderful and cheerful for the Dadaab refugee community and as well the wider refugee issues.
Let me hope that you will also forward the attachments it had with to Morgan so that it becomes one of the best practical evidences that UNHCR itself is play a vital role in the violations to the conventions, protocols and provision of the refugee status instead of promoting.
Kindly do submit to Morgan on behalf of the authors of the a voice from the voiceless document such as the Harmonized Incentive Workers document which was singed by the UNHCR Head of Sub Office – Dadaab as a practical confirmation to the intrusion violations of refugee by UNHCR itself!!. Thank you once again for your wholehearted efforts
thanks STAVRO i got your mail and we at Dadaab regard you as our torch bearer. we are happy to hear that you took the issues of Dadaab with the Australian refugee council. that is a good step forward. We also have the believe that it is only we speak that our voices are heard. the youth in Dadaab are ready submit but shall we submit the same article above or we do submit fresh articles.
thanks once again for your efforts may God bless you, Amin!
The best thing to do now is to write a message to the Refugee Council of Australia, introducing yourselves as the authors of the Voice of the Voiceless article. You can simply ask that they consider your concerns and issues and if they feel it is alright, to raise these issues at the World Conference.
All you are doing is saying, “Please hear our plea. Please shine a light on what is happening at Dadaab Refugee camp.”
This is all that you should do.
When you do this include my email address in the cc.
Please write to me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to all those who have been taking an active role in the participation of the end of injustices to the Refugees in Dadaab and other areas of concern.
The expectation of having more people to join from Dadaab Refugee camps and elsewhere across the globe is just one step ahead and more people contributing to this communiqué should be seen on the blog on the shortest possible time, so that all our voices, ideas and numerous efforts are consolidated into one stronger than ever we can.
Patience pays well; the authors of the memorandum should look forward and contribute prudently and precisely in a manner that our efforts become more fruitful than ever we imagined!!
Kind request to the all current contributors: please just forward the information on the blog plus the attachments of perhaps in your in Box (s) to many people be it your brothers, sisters, relativities, friends, associations, decision maker, your respective government officials, academicians, rights bodies/activists, intellectuals and many more people you think can cause the change of inhuman policies and the hast treatments for the Refugees in Dadaab Camps. With my sincere heart let me anticipate that in the next couple of weeks that more people should be joining!!
Furthermore, let me congratulate Stavros on behalf of the authors who take leading role in the dissemination of this information by putting on his blog and sharing with friends and other influential people across the globe. Please believe your name is well known and you are respected honestly in Dadaab refuges camps.
Refugee Silent Welfare Committee Member
JUNE 20, 2009: World Refugee Day 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009 at 6:19pm
JUNE 20, 2009: World Refugee Day 2009
“”Real People, Real Needs” – refugees are individuals with real needs, just like you and me”
This year, with the world economic crisis threatening to slash aid budgets and amid enormous global uncertainty, we need to ensure refugees are not forgotten. That’s why the theme for this year’s World Refugee Day on June 20 is “Real People, Real Needs.”
Of the millions of people forcibly displaced by conflict, persecution and natural disasters, every one has a story to tell; they are real people, just like you and me, and they have real needs. But, despite the best efforts of UNHCR and many others, many of these basic needs are far from being met.” Source UNHCR Web- http://www.unhcr.org/
Personal Refugee perspective
REAL PEOPLE REAL NEED
We thank UNCR, Donor countries, Host Government, host Community, individuals and all the NGOs who have helped the refugees in one way or the other, how ever there are so many issue that are unsolved.
UNHCR has been promoting and advocating for the rights of the refugee since 1951, however the mission is not fully accomplished as it failed to bring the root cause of refugee to the attention of the world, and reach durable solutions to the refugee problems.
Refugees are vulnerable people who “cannot feed” themselves properly, ‘homeless’, suffering and not able to defend their rights. In this regard, there are so many abuses that refugees face and unfortunately some of the problems UNHCR is accomplice and contributive.
There are sexual harassments by UNHCR and NGOs staffs to the refugees mainly female; since refugees are vulnerable, NGOs workers abuse their position to enrich themselves exploiting refugee women,(They lure young girls for Money, resettlements, medical cases, non-food items, shelter, food and other services allocated for refugees). These services are meant to be free however to some refugees it cost either money or sexual favors.
Secondly, there are policies or procedures introduced to limit the capacities and benefits of the refugees. In fact this can be said to be against the ‘Do No Harm Principle’ for example there are refugee workers who are involved in the service delivery, work similar as national staff again there is incentive harmonization policy invented by UNHCR which indicates less pay and benefit for the refugee workers. for those (refugees) that are employed, they are given peanut salary (read Incentives-or Refugee salary) to illustrate this; a refugee is assistant supervisor, Monitor, Teacher, Mechanics, Auxiliary Nurse, Doctor, cleaner, Carpenter and they are paid a salary that ranges from Ksh 3,000-5,000 a month (Equivalent to $40-66) average, and with no other benefits. While the “outsider” some who do little are paid as much as Ksh 20,000-120,000 ($ 266-1600) i.e. the conservative estimate, and with other benefits, to add salt to the injury
Some times when New NGOs Come to Dadaab Camps and they want to employ refugee youth, UNHCR gives them Salary scale called “INCENTIVE WAGES” and no NGO is supposed to pay more than that scale! Why UNHCR is doing this?
UNREAL PEOPLE, UNREAL NEEDS? If the NGOs are able and want to pay “dignified salary” why block?
In addition to that, there are so many educated (up to degree or Masters levels), knowledgeable and skilled refugees who are anguishing in the camps instead UNHCR should have lobbied from the host Government to allow refugee to be given work permit, UNHCR is ignoring their plight and their offices are inaccessible to the common refugee when they want to present their grievance-Always there are security Guards at the gate who are given instructions not to release any refugee. The security guards have no idea of the humanitarian principles and codes of conduct.
I wonder, if the refugees are the clients/partners and they are stakeholders with UNHCR, why UNHCR is “fortifying” themselves against the refugees – their services are unreachable and refugee grievances will not reach how ever urgent the matter is.
Third, Instead of UNHCR employing and creating jobs to the educated refugee youth so that they will not be preoccupied with evil things (Idle mind is the work shop of evil-Some use drugs like miraa, marijuana, alcohol and other drugs to “entertain themselves” from frustration of unemployment) UNHCR “Imports” workers outside, though the refugee youth are capable to do that job even better than the “foreigners”. This inculcates frustration to the refugees and lack of ownership.
Can we say this policy is “Don’t ask, don’t report policy” and is been implemented by UNCHR staffs?
Above all, its easily noticeable that many refugees who have over stayed in the camps (+18yrs) are still prima facie refugees and have no identity thus encamping them; not able to move and access opportunities.
It is not too late to correct the “injustice” against the refugees.
To the Government and the People of Kenya
We appreciated the kindness and hospitality you have shown towards the refugees; but there are things that need to be corrected and they include:
There are so many Refugees who are learned and have skills why don’t the Government give them (refugees) Work permit and the government gets revenue from the issuing of work permit? By the way the work permit the government refused to issue is and has been an avenue for Corruption and Bribery; the police are making lot money!
Second, the government can allow for the refugees to integrate with the local community and this brings durable solution and it is beneficial to both the government/Kenyans and the refugees-Maybe who knows one day some of the refugees may become leaders in the own country (Rwandan President Paul Kigame) and will try to have good relation with their “adopted country” as Kigame Joined E.A.
Third, Isolation of Refugees brings only problems and hatred, refugees should be allowed free movement, so that they can do their own business and brings investment to the country.
To The International Community
To the international community, you have been true guardians and aiders for a long time when misfortunes erupted in our homelands. In fact what you are doing is a remarkable job how ever certain interventions and involvements make us more vulnerable. For instance political interventions in our homelands increase the number of displaced persons and their vulnerability. I will request the international community to wholeheartedly and fully support war torn countries to set up long lasting governments. This needs political, economical and social support.
The war torn countries don’t have factories that produce weapons and its known the source of this MASS DESTRUCTION WEAPONS (Read AK-47).
Let us not be hypocrite, every body knows who is a Good Samaritan and who is evil. Somali and other war torn countries are under UN weapon embargo and yet we have them in plenty-More than the essential goods.
Let the international community don’t make the mistakes they did in Rwanda, Bosnia and other Countries and then say we are sorry, we could have prevented this catastrophe-Like the Genocide of Rwanda!.
To My follow Refugee
To my Comrades (Refugees) you have shown that you are capable to survive in any condition, Millions of us have been forcibly displaced around the world and each has a story to tell in his own version and style. We were displaced and uprooted from wonderful countries, and some of us have only heard the word “Peace and Government” as a vocabulary used in the dictionaries but not seen the real meaning of the words in practice. We have lost our beloved ones and properties, yet we are surviving-(survival to the Fittest) and we are able to do everything. We are refugees by status and not by choice. You are not only ordinary people, but you are super humans, who have shown resilient in any situation and adopted it, Refugee is just a status and not a permanent tag or state of mind, there are so many prominent people in the world who were once Refugees and they made it, to name a few:
1) Ayatulah Ruhul Kumeini-1964s-1979-Revolutoin leader
2) Albert Einstein (1879-1955), The Nobel Prize in Physics 1921
3) Thomas Mann (1875-1955), 1929 Nobel Prize laureate
4) Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), Freud is best known for his theories of the unconscious mind and the defense mechanism of repression
5) Madeleine Korbel Albright (1937- )-First Women US secretary of State
…. and so on.
6) K’Naan 1990- Famous Somali artist
6) And why Not include me or you (the Reader)?
They have contributed a lot of things in the world and you should emulate them they way they were, and one day you can make same or more contribution than them.
lets not be pessimistic but be optimistic that one day we shall go back to our respective countries and rebuild our lives-Insha Allah-What ever goes round comes round.
Let us Mark/celebrate and Commemorate world refugee day in order to remember refugees who are suffering around the world.
We thank UNCR, Donor countries, Host Government, host Community, individuals and all the NGOs who have helped the refugees in one way or the other but still there is too much to be done.
Have wonderful Refugee days wont you?
By : Yours in Service
yes ite true thats what is happening in dadaab camps.believe we organized and faunded ayouth human right group in daddaab camps to tackle issues of human right problems and agencies services delivery but no one to help us.though iam nowin united states,.but that will not stop from making dadaab camps agood place for innocent refugees to live.if have more suggstion please we need ua help
I just returned to Canada after being in Dadaab for 2 weeks as a volunteer working with 6 “incentive” teachers from Ifo secondary school. We had expected to be working with a group twice that size, but somehow they were the only ones released to us. It was disappointing to not be able to go into the classrooms to see the teachers’ actual working conditions. We were also confined to the NGO compound and only allowed to leave in vehicles with a security detail so we never had the chance to visit the blocks where the refugees lived. It was wonderful to work with the teachers on strategies for creating a positive learning environment, but so disappointing to not have access to their living and working conditions. At least I had a taste of their feeling of confinement, with the difference that mine was only a 2 week sentence. Thanks for posting the thoughts and feelings of some of the “inmates” of Dadaab. I am puzzled by so much about the operation of the camps, but through their voices we can learn about the culture and perhaps see what can be done to effect change.
Thank you very much both Mashos and Nora. The youth in Dadaab very much appreaciate your efforts. Its with our sincere heart that we understand your feeling towords our condition of living. But few individuals in UNHCR and Kenyan government offices who have no feeling for the human suffering in Dadaab rule the situation in the camps to remmain the way its now but we are not hopeles and we hope one day things will change to the better Insha Allah.
Thank you very much both Mashos and Nora. Its with our sincere heart that we understand your feeling towords our condition of living. But few individuals in UNHCR and Kenyan government offices who have no feeling for the human suffering in Dadaab rule the situation in the camps to remmain the way its now but we are not hopeles and we hope one day things will change to the better Insha Allah.
Thank you very much both Mashos and Nora. But few individuals in UNHCR and Kenyan government offices who have no feeling for the human suffering in Dadaab rule the situation in the camps to remmain the way its now but we are not hopeles and we hope one day things will change to the better Insha Allah.
Hi, congratulations to all those who portrays the refugee plights to the international communities, with determinations our cries will be heard from the furthest corner. You can all imagine the agony of a young, talented, educated and dynamic person who can’t go beyond the camp. I know if we try to list down our plights, they ll be more beyond the thought of an individual.
Thanks to all of you who have clearly taken time to comment on the gross humanitarian problems in Dadaab camps. These are people who are denied all opportunities available to expressing their opionions and views with regards to the camp operations. Nora thanks for your keen observation for the 2 weeks you’re here with us. The other very important thing to be noted is that the UN Refugee Agency is not fulfilling their mandate towards fostering & enhancing protection to Refugees, worst of all they always need heavy security details to come to da field Offices in da respective camps. How can you serve people whom you don’t have a confidence, is like a doctor attending to a patient and that the doctor doesnot want to touch da body of da patient. Is that fair and just?
Thanks to all those who contributed!
Many of us contributed their views and comments where thousands of people from different countries/continent must have seen the articles written by the young educated refugees in Dadaab camps fighting for their rights and seeking total respect and adherence to the international protocol of refugee status and the universal human rights declaration. I therefore, would like to make some few comments/suggestion;
• Since the posting date of the article; does anyone sensed a positive change in the camps? If so what
• In case there was no tangible positive change can anyone help to get the strategies to have positive changes, so that a real change happens to the innocent refugees in the camps
• I can see visitors came and saw truly little of the scenarios on the ground and did contributed their views but what is the real action plan we have for the suffering and inhuman acts for the innocent refugee whom the International community pours millions of dollars each year at least to improve their living condition but no/little is done and no one knows where that huge funds go to!!
My sincere recommendation:
I’m sure many of those you did saw or contributed to this article have the potential powers of sharing this note with their respective top government officials by simply emailing them and inviting so that a democratic process of data exchange forum is created, and accountability mechanisms of the silent atrocities is created for.
It would have been an opportunity if anyone has the potential or mights of sharing this article directly with the office of the Secretary General Mr. Ban and other top ranking officials in the UN systems, so that they witness what their juniors are doing to the refugees instead of promoting them!!!
It would have been well to brining this article to attention of the President of the Kenya and other top ranking officials; so that he sees what is happening camps within his nation which was never visited by a Kenyan president for almost 20 years!
The International Human rights bodies to have an official base in all the camps to build the capacity of the refugees in terms of protocols governing their rights and thoroughly investigate the different circumstances existing in the camps and fifure out appropriate solutions for them.
Kenya Human Rights commission to have their presence and present their findings to the government of Kenya to enact affirmative laws and address the concerns and plights of the refuges in accordance with the International regulations and requirements.
It would have been a great opportunity to share this article with the International Donor groups so that they actually hear and see this time from the real beneficiaries and not the principal and sub principal recipients of their funds!!
With the few remarks, I would have been more than happy to see big changes and men and women of this group should bring their heads together and try all mights to cause positive changes within the shortest possible time. I mean let’s do many other tactics to help alleviate the suffering of the hundreds of thousands of the refugees under the prisons of the UNHCR and not only placing articles on the bloc without an action plan!!!
It really breaks my heart to see this happening to Refugees. I am Somali student living in the united states. I am planning to go to Kenya this October to visit family and i wanted to volunteer while i am there. Can anyone help me with this? i know its not much but i would really love to volunteer while am there to let my fellow refugees know that they are not alone in their struggles. If you can let me know about some organizations i can contact about volunteer work i would really appreciate it
You can contact me najmo from email@example.com i dont think i will recommend you to join any organization working at dadaab currently because you will not be given access to see the pain and the daily struggle of the refugees in the camp……. contact me may be you can help me with the song or something…thanks
thanks Najma for your comment
It is true , I have lived in dadaab refugee camps and everything that is said in the article is both accurate and to the point.. I escaped from the camp now and I am in Nairobi I am trying to shoot my video CAGED IN A CAMP which i want to picture the live of refugees in the camp. thanks for all of you guys. firstname.lastname@example.org is my email
Thank you Bishar.
I am thinking about making a blog just about the Dadaab Refugee Camp situation. This way, Bishar, you can share your images and short videos with everybody. Once your film is complete you can use the blog to promote it.
Maybe, we don’t need another blog. Maybe all we need is this post and the replies. If people send me images / photos of the Dadaab experience I can put them up on this blog. We can also include videos and sound……real Voices from the Voiceless if someone can record sound and send to me.
Maybe, people who visit the Dadaab camp can write of their experiences and share them here.
Please let me know what is the next move for the web presence of this issue by replying here.
I have been planning for two months to acquire a filming permission from the the Agencies Headquartes in Nairobi. Having read the whole thread here, doubts are creeping slowly in my mind, but as a Journalist with a strong self eficacy, I believe we can open up the filth hidden there by the so called Humanitarian Agencies. They have blatantly refused to answer questions and reply emails, somehow now, I feel I have found the right place to share thoughts on how to bring this to an end.
Sometimes it’s best to not tell authorities what we plan to do because if they know we will be stopped. There is no technical reason why you could not film in secret using a small video camera or even a mobile phone. Sure the pictire definition will not be good BUT we are not interested in a high definition movie quality recording…..we want clear, true content that is available to all in the world via the internet. You already know about the amazing events that have been recorded by mobile phone in the recent Spring Arising through Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Yemen and Syria. Nearly all the pictures and videos have been recorded using simple small technology like a mobile phone.
So, Mohamed, if you can do it – visit Dadaab and secretly record interviews and scenes with something small and not worry about the quality. What is important is the quality of the STORY.
How about it?
Thank you for the advice of the alternative media. I will think about this and sometimes later, I will drop a comment.
asalamu calaykum Bishar Hadje, thanks for your comment on in the voice from the voiceless article. i am one of the youth who have documented all those problems mentioned in that article and I am delighted to hear that you used to live in Dadaab before you escape to Nairobi. for your information the situation in the camps is only getting worse day after day and its upto people like you and me to stand up and say no more to these vices and with your coorperation and your position as a journalist we can improve the lives of the innocent refugees in the camp. if we closely work we can direct and organise people like Najma in USA to come and suport our cause of seeking freedom.
looking forward to hear from you.
Truely I am living in the Camp and thanks to all said above are all truth! All right are really voilented across the individual that who a refugee. Simply a refugee is treated without choice.I have been working as volunteer so, i seen too much than what i can say! Now is time for internional community and the World to come in to turn around the situation in the Dadaab Camp for better change, and thank all David.
[…] A Voice from the Voiceless: Dear All the concerned […]
Thanks for writing. I am in agreement with you regarding “poverty porn”. When and if you feel like posting your essay on what you experienced at Dadaab, it would make a great addition to this thread.
If you don’t want to post it here – just send us the link – as you have done here.
All the best and may your efforts to support the Voiceless be potent and good.
thanks guys,you left no stone unturned.ifo is where i was raised and got educated,from class 1 in 1993 up to high school in 2004.the information given about the refugees in the camp is first hand and accurate.rememer change is gradual let us endure and nurture patience and keep our way to have our voices heard.
keep the struggle and never despair at any one time as justice will find its way to our situation
Do you think achange of structure in the refugee leadership is aneffective way to bring solution to problems mentioned in the article_the voice of the vioceless?
do we as a youth(elite) have influelence or power in the refugee leadership?
waiting for your contributions
I am living in Dadaab for the next three weeks with an organization and would like to turn this letter into a film.
IF YOU KNOW THE PEOPLE WHO WROTE IT OR ANYONE WHO WOULD LIKE TO HELP PLEASE GET IN TOUCH ASAP! THANK YOU!!
+254 717 055168
Thanks mr Michael for ua concerns but you know that your working for UNHCR indirectly of which we believe that it has brought us to our knees as refugees in Dadaab. So i believe there’s nothing we can do together.
I respect your views about how people can support your efforts in Dadaab. Sometimes people use organisations and institutions to really make a change. How do you know that Michael is not genuine with his wish to assist you and is using UNHCR as a way, as a vehicle to get to Dadaab to assist you?
The only way to know, I think, is to communicate with him either by email (this blog) or telephoning him, if possible. This way your intuition will be able to see if Michael is on your side.
Please reconsider and at least communicate with him to see if he can be of genuine use to your cause.
Hope all of you are doing the greatest you can with your family, relatives, friends and the loved ones.
Its my sincere hope that we are at least moving to the right direction with the right energy and efforts but still i do see that, there are a number other opportunities we can do to ensure we coordinate our efforts to the best we can and achieve our goal of ending the injustice that had hurted all the refugees in one way or the other; whereas in other end made the so called staffs richer than ever they dreamt of in theirs lives. Its worth to understand that Dadaab Progamme is an engineered social-economic project than a humanitarian progarmme which was intended previously by the international community and well wishers.
Let’s understand that no single staff member in the area would ever accept anything that would make the programme to be in the right course or to come to an end with the simple aim that they are enjoying lots and lots of benefits that no one can ever imagine on earth.
In addition to that, there is massive degree of corruption and suppression of those who understand within the community with the simple that they should speak and say the fact when high profile and independent visitors do arrive in the camps . Its now up to the International community, rights groups donor groups and the concerned governments to decide the judgment of all those who were behind the atrocities and blights of the refugee in the camps. !!
Let me comment on those people willing to assist the refugees who just come in and settle with the same agencies who depress the refugees and violte the internataion norms of protecting the refguees on hourly basis.
Dear Friends, in fact there is little you can do and my sincere advice is that if at all you wish to assist them just come bravely and independently and settle within the available lodges in the camps/region and have greater access to them, who will infrom you every sigle misery that met with in truley and detailed manner. Many brave men and women have done and we expect others like them to do.
Lastly but not the least, i would like to congratulate to brave comrades who are in the camps by coming out and speaking truly and would at least advice them to continue feeding the system with the greatest care they can.
Yours in sincere,
i am a refugee living in dadaab for 20years as we would be pleased to see if the international community consider to witness such horrible depressions through the many refugees living in the different camps irrespective of their origin, colour, religion and gender.
Why is it that you and others have been in the Dadaab Refugee Camps for 20 years and more? I thought that refugee camps are only temporary places for refugees until they find a country that they can go to. Is this not the case?
Hallow my dear inmates of Dadaab and the other well wishers who always read, comment and sympathise with. As been one of the prisoners in Dadaab refugee, am atleast happy that we are moving in the right direction though its strenge that when one reads our plight in this web one wonders and even get confused how someone remains in a confined refugee camp just like Stavr0s but my dear allow me to explain to you that Dadaab camps were set up in June 1991 and up today the refugees who camp in that time kept in an emergence situation denying them means of development. Those of us who camp to camps in 1991/2 are the same in all facets of lives like those who are coming to camps today. Thanks
Hallow my dear inmates of Dadaab and the other well wishers who always read, comment and sympathise with us. I been one of the prisoners in Dadaab refugee, am atleast happy that we are moving in the right direction though its strenge that when one reads our plight in this web one wonders and even get confused how someone remains in a confined refugee camp just like Stavr0s did wonder but my dear allow me to explain to you that Dadaab camps were set up in June 1991 and up today the refugees who came during that time are stil in an emergence situation denying them means of development. Those of us who came to camps in 1991/2 are the same in all facets of lives like those who are coming to camps today. Thanks
Hello all I am touched by the words I see on this page. The plight of the refugees in Dadaab camp and all around the world is terrible.
However I must point somethings out that by the way, the political situation in the camps is very complicated and it is not as easy as giving everyone all the food they need and sending them to America. The worlds needs are great and money and support just not is there. All of Kenyan citizens in general are not supportive of letting refugees into the country and a politician who do that would lose an election, and often nonprofits want to help the refugees but the money isnit there…
So all I say is this. Do not blame the people you know when you see there is no care for you here, do not blame the countries that take some refugees but not enough but instead as a matter of fact those who should be blamed is the many who do not come and do not care. The many who do not give money or turn their backs their offense is greater, what the world needs is to be aware and to care not just few peoplel
Thanks to all those who are taking part in the struggle against the injustices and atrocities carried out by the Agencies lead by the UNHCR.
Indeed Iam grateful how you are touched by the situation but wish to make few comments.
I would like to briefly summarize some of the points that was mentioned on the above. Just assume when genocide happens somewhere on the earth its the resident of the area that speak loudly and clearly to the world and the concerned parties who could at least do something; thereafter after the international community in collaboration of the rights groups do send some technical fact finding experts to examine the authenticity and validity of such report and thereby prove it.
Its in such process that the same residents finger point our precisely the individuals were responsible for the acts against humanity and they are brought in front justices.
Its with that back ground that the Dadaab refugees are speaking transparently and vividly to the international community, donor groups, rights groups and the concerned governments for at least such silent and cross abuse of human rights are addressed amicably and misuse of the funds in trusted with them, corruption and among other interesting incidents that was done to the refugee community in Dadaab.
The refugees are normal human beings who understand better from all corners and walks of life; indeed they better understand what they are doing and to my 100% believe they in the right course of getting out such terrible life.
Thus, there are few indivudauls who are responsible for manainging the refguees affairs but not according to the agreement with internatinal commuinty, donors groups and righs groyups among other well wishers; indeed its with this back ground that refguees has the rightfull obligations to cleraly finer piont the few indinvdauls who committed acts against human rights abuses whether they are in Dadaab currebly or they have alreday resigned, left the agency or jioned other agencies across the globe, no matter where they are the list is been maintained, updated and managed by refguee technical experts against what they have done within the region.
In sum, I would like to urge to my fellow brave comrades to continue to speared-head the programme and continue recording the acts against humanity done by the officers in charge of refugee operations in general.
Yours in sincerely,
hey all i happy that the discussion is going good but i would like to tell those friends like Stavr0s that in Dadaab, the refugees stay there for life without knowing what the future holds for them because they don not have any say in their lifes but somebody makes the decision for them and that is how is here in Dadaab.
I’d like to thank all those who took part in propagating & contributing towards the article. However, it’s not only Dadaab where we’ve refugees in the world at the same time Dadaab refugees are deprived of many items and/or clauses contained in the 1951 Convention relating to refugees status. If I can just take an example of that kind “Restricted Movement” it was early this year when the Provincial administration issued a decree stoping all refugees leaving Dadaab for whatever reason; reason being there were some skirmishes at the border town of Dobley. So the question is what is the relationship between refugees moving from Dadaab and the fighting in Somalia. It’s against the 1951 Statute relating to refugees who sought refuge in a country to be dealt with that way. Secondly; contrary to non-refoulement; the kenyan government continues to forcifuly return many Somali refugees to the border town of Dobley coupled by police brutality and harrassment on daily basis of which the UN Refugee agency is watching keenly and neva took decisions however and that means they’re part of the whole problem.
So, let me get this straight. All the refugees at Dadaab are waiting to be relocated to some place on Earth that will take them so that they can rebuild their lives. For some reason, this is not happening, but if it is, the proces is so slow that some of the refugees have been “imprisoned” for 20 years!!!
Now I learn that the refugees cannot leave the camp for whatever reason the authorities say. This is imprisonment.
Have I got the picture of what is happening at this very basic level?
Surely,so many people asked what can be done in Dadaab Camp to bring better change! Is not abuot refugee leadership is about advocacy to the voiceless people to know what they can do themselves and to be heard over the World as well! The best is to have refugee Coaching networking active in the Camp setup.And to create more space for better Justic of movement of individuals on different needs as human being at back ways to help support more in life. David
Iam happy to be with you about the discutions which is very important to our community.
Thanks Hali and welcome to this article. Your comments,contributions are highly awaited and hence your recommendation thereafter. If I may ask where are you? Osman.
Thanks to all those who have been taking part in this discussion. Therefore, since the posting of the article much have been done and said in written. Its now an action time when people would turn their joint and coordinated efforts into more practical steps in order to arrive to the way out.
We all know well that, the year is about to end and heading to the New Year closer and closer than ever! In that regard, its noteworthy that we to have strategize what the new year can give to the innocent, dejected, denied and degraded refugees in Dadaab and Kakuma camps.
Can anyone invite some prominent national and international lawyers, well wishers, lead government leaders, politicians, intellectuals, human rights petitioners and professional journalists to at least advice this matter and give comprehensive recommendations on the next steps to engage in overcoming the predicaments, challenges and plights in the camps in a short period of time in the course of 2011; so that complete overhaul of policies, systems, organizational structures and procedures of dealing and serving the refugees could happen just like a miracle!!
Lastly but not the least, I would like to give my suggestion the following parties consequently;
To my fellow comrades in Dadaab – please ensure you continue for advocating the rights of the depressed refugees in Dadaab until the last minute of your souls on earth and expand your networking systems both within and external decisively. In addition ensure to come up with a system that will enable you better inform your technical advisors in separate sessions in order to have a very clear picture on the condition on the ground, for better understanding and informative consistently.
To my fellow friends in Kakuma – its significant that you participate in the struggle against injustices against the refugees and contribute similar scenarios in Kakuma. Furthermore, try to have the contract address of the Dadaab Refugee Welfare Committee a joint educated young refugees who fight for the rights of Refugees and exchange views and ideas to overcome the injustices in the camps, collectively, so that you stand stronger than ever against the fight of injustices and prejudices in the refugee camps.
To Stavros and his honorable team – you are an eye for the refugees in Kenya as per the fight against unfairness and your kind attention remains in the hearts of thousands of defenseless refugees in Kenya in terms of media rights among others, for them at least to see one day one time in the forceable will be helped in the efforts you have done for them. We all know that your heart is not far from them and in reality just around with them intending and thinking every time to at least contribute their alleviation of sufferings. Please continue in advocating for them and I’m confident that you will continue to help those thousands of refugees in the deteriorating condition. Lastly but the least, kindly just see how best you can expand your efforts and share such information with the decision makers of your country if probable. We know very well that your country is so kind and pours large amount of humanitarian assistance to the refugees in Kenya in particular, so that at least their conditions could be enhanced but at the end of the result diminutive or no tangible has been done for the refugees let alone the huge money received from the government or private donors!
To the African governments – you have been so kind and contributed to the humanitarian assistance of the refugees in Kenya and elsewhere in African. Please note that, all the refugees in the African countries should receive the same treatments in accordance with the international provisions and protocols relating to the refugees and the universal human rights declarations, so as to promote justices, equality and fairness for all!
To the Kenyan government – your extension of support and help to the refugees in Kenya was further than the expectation of some of the countries across the globe. Refugees know well that there are some countries that do not respect the humanity in general and more specifically to the refugees when they seek refuge in certain nations on earth. But it’s the obligation of the Kenyan government to look further the polices the affect the lives of thousands of refugees in the country and demonstrate such fortification in accordance with the 1951 convention, 1967 protocols, universal human rights declarations and African Union declarations which Kenyan government is signatory and member nation who committed itself in promoting and protecting the refugee as the articles agreed up by the member countries. We ask the Kenyan government to look into the following areas in order to promote and reiterate its position in the text of 1951 convention. Service delivery, healthy issues, corruption, human rights abuses, food distribution, restricted movement, community services, legal issues, NGOs operations and their mandates, accountability, acts against humanity, freedom of expression e.t.c in the refugee camps. Please note, the Agencies hide behind you when it want not to do anything tangible and inform the refugees deliberately that the Kenyan government does allow such and such without giving evidence/proof and without the representation of any government official? They do such scenarios to object the solution to be achieved easily, but it’s the obligation of the government to reaffirm its position in protecting and supporting the refugees and establish visibly as per the international standards.
To the International community- you have been real caring and supportive for the thousands of refugees at least to get survived, but your accountability in the funds you provide to the agencies was below the minimum standard of any monitoring, evaluation and auditing principles ever we witnessed. The Agencies who serve the refugees do what they think without consulting with the refugee community and not taking into account the essential requirement of the beneficiaries. Please rest assured that a huge amount of your donation might either have gone into wrong procedure or corrupted or mismanaged under the best interests known to the officers in charge. We urge you to continue supporting the humiliated refugees and up left your monitoring and fact finding missions for at least to improve the living condition of the refugees for 20 years down the line for a better life, free corruption environment, power abuse, human rights abuses among other inhuman acts against humanity in the refugee camps.
To the Agencies in Dadaab – we know you have tired a lot but failed in a great percentage of your operations in that region. In which principle do the agencies use to serve the refugees under your hostages for 20 years in an emergency situation with no tangible living and social- economic improvement! We all know that a refugee life is a temporary and should not last more than two (02) years in an encamping policy but your systems seem to be social-economic programmes which has substantial linkages with political agendas. I would like to emphasize that history records every action done whether your in remote area or not and maintains such events for purpose of reference and justice. What you have been doing and you are still doing is not right to a certain variable degree. Its not a crime if you do what is right regardless of who gave you the mandate to operate there but think to twice that it’s gross crime if you do what is not inline with the humanitarian code of conduct and acts that are against the international laws and the universal human rights declaration. Be sure that one day one time you and your agency might face in front of juice and its rulings, as a result of the actions done by the officers in charge of the agencies no matter if you leave now there or join/go somewhere else on the earth. Your act’s foot-prints remains in the camps and in the hearts of thousands of refugees under your jurisdiction. Please rest assured that no one of you might be safe in the refugee operations Programme since there are a large number of cases ranging from abuse of power, corruption, misuse of donor funds, abuse of human rights, abuse of humanitarian code of conduct and among many other gross violations. Furthermore bear in mind that the same people whom you denied, and degraded might possibly become great people on the earth tomorrow, because bright futures is a praise that pays to every deserving person on the earth! So just make a judgment if you were to approach such great person whom you have harassed, denied, degraded and abused his/her rights within some few years back? How do you think will treat you or your Organization in certain key international credential settings or governmental forums?
To the countries from the refugees – you have been so indisposed and an spectators for so long in one way or the other to visit your citizens and observe their conditions profoundly, how they have been degraded, dishonored in the refugees camps! Your people in the camps make up part of your country population and citizens and indeed they are so resourceful in one way or the other. The most wonderful and interesting issue is how did or do you accept your people to be abused and violated their rights within the confines of the camps for many years without getting noticed!!! Please note that there is no one born to no nation and every one belongs to nations where he or she claims and is respected for it. Thus every nations has double duty on its people whether its political or diplomatic and has an obligation to protect its people’s rights and interest? Every where on the earth under whatsoever circumstance!!
To the private donors – you have been so kind supporting the refugees operations and programmes. Your kind hearts has been drawn by the tremendous living conditions of the refugees and your humanity and generous attention. Please do continue donating to the refugees for at least humanity purpose and ensure every single coin you donated is spent to the its genuine purpose you intended for! In addition, please be aware of the reports you might receive and prefer practicality of what was done for the refugees as a result of your donation and ensure it should bear your trade mark or business logo to easily differentiate from other donors donations easily. In addition it might have happened that funding programmes are messed up for the purpose of confusing the donors and other reasons best known to some principle recipients or sub principle recipients of donor funds.
To the International governments – you had been actively engaging and supporting the refugee operations mainly focusing on funding the programmes and responding to the appeals presented by the Agencies claiming to be serving the refugees in accordance with the international standard and protocols relating to provisions of the refugees under 1951. Indeed every single refugee in the camps appreciates your kind support and your generous assistance but the refugees in the camps are not asking for direct or indirect funding or money but all what wish is that their tears to be seen and their voices to be heard precisely and respond to it and reaffirm that their silent outcries are addressed precisely once and for all! In fact, a great percentage of the refugees had been in the camps for 20 years with no access or opportunities to support their living condition. Every year the situation is ether the same or similar and there is no tangible improvement done for the last 19 of operations other than offering the same services they had been doing since the creation of the refugee set ups in 1992. Do you think this is the right protocol that the agencies would have done or do for 20 years as a member of the concerned entities? Indeed refugees have a painful eye witnesses experiences to share with you that has never been addressed and all what they require is to end the injustices they face in every aspect of their walk life!
To the Human Rights bodies – you had been an excellent guarding of human rights across the globe and you had shared your reports with the world but note that your recommendations has not be implemented to alleviate the suffering of the depressed refugees whose grievances has not been addressed correctly. Please ensure you continue to advocate for the rights of the refugees and also write from the untold stories in the camps and share with the concerned authorities accordingly.
To the national and international media – you have reported some stories in the refugee camps but there are a lot of stuff and untold stories that have been happening and still happening in the refugees camps. Please propagate the rights of the refugees through media and the share untold stories to the world for them to know the actual information on the ground consistently.
In sum, all the context and content that was mentioned on the above are genuine and all the refugees would wish to see is that things are put in the right place at the right time. In general view the refugees are most optimistic people on the earth with acceptable problems.
I’m convinced you will all concur with me if you have the sense to feel what is like to a refugee. The content of my critique is not intended to hurt anyone or party but to share my experiences with the concerned entities and express my feelings and views about the circumstances in the camps. Thanks for your keen and kind reading.
Firstly i appreciate on behalf of the Tsunami Youth Group for the community philanthropist who innitiated this golden website and i believe the intended group are meticuosly receiving the valuable contents posted in the website.
Secondly, i strongly conderm the UNHCR Resettlement office for the sanction they impossed to the refugees who obtained the Kenyan ID illegally and this has been facilitated by the Knyan government,besides this tragic, sadness and worried decision reached by UNHCR in collobration with the Kenya government will escalate the idle youth in the camps to join the islamist group in Somalia and so far the number joined to the islamist group reached 33 in which six of them died in mogadishu and the next two they will mass exodus of youth to move back to their homeland due to the enviromental stress and lack of good employment opportunities in the camp, the youth has induced to remain in the camp after the complesion of the secondary school by resstlement opportunities and if this is declines they are giong to face aheavy challenges.
I therefore urge the UNHCR to deregister for those who obtained the kenyan ID after their refugee status if they want to bring adurable solution to refugees who occupied in the camps for the last 20 years.
thanks to everyone who contributed to this well elaborated article which is extensively highlighting the plight of the refugees in Dadaab.
i am one of the refugees highly affected by the crisis on the ground but to my opinion all is not lost because the time has come to say MINIMIZED thanks to WATSAN(CARE)because of its introduction of community mobilization unit which is encouraging participation and inclusion of different community members in decision making which i think it led to the production of much water and cleaniness of the camps especially Hagadera which is now enjoying the a modernised way of managing garbage from collection point to the recycling point whereby i think many people will get jobs e.g collection of plastic garbage and recycling jobs but my advice to the care and the other agencies especially UNHCR you must do something to improve the payment you give us as incentives for us to develop psychologically and economically otherwise you may say something else when the justice arrive for us.and to IRC remember that you are dealing with human being not animals you need satisfy us with our basic right which is right to get proper health care
let me take this opportunity to share with you this silent cry, I’m sure many of us who have lived at Kenya refugee camps has greater experience about the humiliations that has taken place at Dadaab camps in Kenya for the last 20 years and it’s still going on as of today, but the question is how can the solution to these problem be achieved according to UNHCR manual there are three ways to find durable solution to the refugees who are living in confined camps and these are voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to a third country.
Somali refugees who are the majorities of Dadaab camps population have never hard enough durable solution so let us one by one, all this three categories for voluntary repatriation is not viable at with the current situation in Somalia where hundreds are crossing into neighboring countries everyday and it was impossible for the past 20 years, there were some who were repatriated by UNHCR early nineties but they later reinterred the camps because they were not save at home for that reason repatriation is not foreseeable even in the near future.
So let us look into integration Kenya government has hosted these refugees for the past twenty year and Kenya is one of signatories of Genève conventions and in the convention refugees are entitled to integrate to host country on their own will but Kenya government has violated these rules and refused to integrate the refugees, there are Ugandan refugees who come to Kenya I think in 1984 some were integrated others were refused and some of their integration was removed again can you imagine Ugandans are still now at Dadaab camps without a freedom of movement and right to work at the host country , there are so many of the refugees who are willing to integrated in to the host country if the opportunity are given but they are denied. They could be very resourceful and productive if the opportunities are given could make greater changes to lives of the local community.
Article 28 of the convention refugees are entitled to travel documents that permit them to go other countries were international community to realize convention rights universally or even regionally, refugees could leave camps for better opportunities not only within the country of first asylum but in the other nation as well. There is no logical reason why their protection should be limited to countries that happen to border their own, indeed with ability to travel and engage in business refugees could unique of regionally economic development. So does the refugees in Kenya accessible to these opportunities the answer is absolute no!! As for the above reasons integration is not possible too.
For resettlement opportunities are very rare compared to the number of refugees in Kenyan camps which I think is current world’s oldest refugees’ camps since early nineties and not more 50 thousand refugees have been resettled for last 20 years according to UNHCR list their eighteen resettling counties which are not practically visible in Dadaab camps except view not more than four out of the eighteen in these context wave of resettlement was unforeseen in the past and hope there are will be viewer chances for years to come so still solutions is very far away for the people who have humiliated for the past twenty years and they are really in need of quick humanitarian respond to their cry.
My suggestion is that let us all join hands in order to make changes to lives of thousands of people who are in need of our support and all those part of these humiliations know they are accountable of their action and justice will prevail one time in their life.
by jibril x ifo camp resident
My name is Hussein Mohamed and I’m 18 years old. My nationality is Kenya. I was born in Kenya 1992 in IFO which located northeast Kenya. I group up in IFO as I was child and didn’t get opportunity to school that day. In fact that time I was getting sick most time. And I’m the only person who help my mother because our children is really younger. We all together are 8 people at that time. Those camps it was really overcrowded means new people arrived every day. United nation give people home, food, and clean water. They also include free health. Amazing thing I after 9 years I came to USA and life is really change. Because I learn a lot and as you see I appreciate the langue well and I’m in high school 11grade. So I love to say thanks those who love helping other people.
well,i resoundly congratulate noor for his detailed commentary about the plight of the destitute refugees in dadaab camp,more worse the qualified dadaab refugees for resettlement has been less than 1% of the population compounded by slow pace of the process itself.in recent month UNHCR IN colaboration with DRA(DEPARTMENT OF REFUGEE AFFAIRS)lauche hunting of those who poses national identity cards when the family is about to go and scheduled for flight.These has elicited one way reaction in condemnation of the inhumane act….we subscribe to the view that there is a psychological attack of the poor refugees and we appeal to the rights commission to safe these refugees.
Thank you for providing this information. I am a journalist: I am wondering if it is possible to find out some more information from the Refugee Silent Welfare Committees in Dadaab or anyone else posting here who is familiar with the camps— I would be interested in getting in touch with someone to ask more about the conditions they describe, including about education in the camps. Would this be possible? Of course, I understand that they would want their identities protected which I can guarantee. Kindly let me know.
Feel free to contact me. email@example.com
I would like to thank the individual who started this discussion and to those who have shared their amazing stories of courage and survival. The reason why I am here is because I want to do my part to help my fellow Somalis in IFO and neighboring camps.
There is a small school in IFO called “Hersi Mahad Integrated Academy” it provides basic education to children who have no means of paying for education thorough private institutions. The school has very little if not no resources to provide for its students.
Coming to the conclusion that as a human being it is my responsibility to do everything in my power to uplift the ongoing humanitarian disasters facing my fellow Somalis. I want to begin by obtaining as much information from the refugee camps in order to find out what exactly schools and students in the camp need. In the coming days I plan to contact the administrators of “hersi Mahad Integrated Academy” and get their input as well. I would like to fundraise and DONATE 100% of the donations to the schools and students.
In the mean while can any of you please share your thoughts and inputs on what services and resources students in the camp need?
Please see the reply I left at the start of this discussion. My email address is Curt.Petrovich@cbc.ca
Everybody has said the truth, but let me assure u that it is the so-called “UNHCR” that is causing all our plights.just understand that 4 ur info
You are doing a good work.
Please, Keep on.
Please Keep up.
I received the following email from a refugee activist who asked me to post it here.
You can contact the person who sent it to me by email firstname.lastname@example.org
I have not changed anything in the message below. It is cut and pasted as is which includes spelling, grammar etc.
I hope that someone who reads this can do something. I will also include the following as a reply in the Voice of the Voiceless post because there are many who subscribe to that post and its continuing discussion.
From: Congolese Banyamulenge Victims Refugees
To: United Nations High commissioner for Refugees in Ethiopia
Re: CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION
Dear sir/ Madam,
We Banyamulenge Victims would like to express our gratitude and thanks to our almighty God for his high protection and to grant us this opportunity to tell you once more about our wariness and sadness situation we are living in.
First of all, as you already know, we have told you several times about our problems which dated for long time or many years but it seemed like you ignored and neglected, but even it looks like that, we are here to inform you once more that we still remaining in the same situation of insecurity and critical situation of health. Since on 17/01/2011 up to day yet, we are sleeping outside together with our children, injured persons and sick women and men, we do know why you are treating us in this way, like slave, animals or criminal persons, but only God knows!!!
Secondly, even if you didn’t use the way that we tried to give you in order to know who is real Munyamulenge,at this instant, We would like to mention some names of those Hutus who have been resettled in third country and others who still here in country of asylum they are in process of resettlement.
However, due to our case of insecurity we have been afraid to denounce their names before, because we hoped that you will use the code what we gave you in previous letters .consequently, those Hutus they are killers we knew that the day we should mention their names, they should eliminate us but, enough it’s enough we can’t keep this any more. Because we are between death and lives.
Even though, something surprising, after butting us on 19/01/2011 in front of your office, you brought us in a very far place to punish us in this forest without any Hospital and other assistance for living, yet, we do know our mistake. But them, you congratulate them by increasing their allowance assistance instead of receiving 1000 birr you added 300 birr to each one. Besides, you granted all of them refugee status and resettlement on the nationality which is not belong to them and you really know that is a fraud business and is forbidden.
We never know that we as banyamulenge were the obstacles of helping those Genocide’s persons from Rwanda and Burundi in our tribe name ( Banyamulenge)
In addition, we request you to make Investigation and help all refugees in general but in right way without any cheating and sneaking or corruption.
Further more, when we go back and look on UNHCR history in Ethiopia only three Banyamulenge have been resettled in third country, their name are: RWAGASORE Diama, NDASHOBORWA Mezake and NYIRAMUBYEYI Josianne.
Once more, we still waiting your favorable response to help us to leave in this country, whether it could be by, pass permit, travel document, Evacuation or repatriation, we are ready to go back in our mother land because we don’t have choice.
Thank you in Advance.
May God bless you and Bless Ethiopia.
Congolese Banyamulenge Victims Refugees in Ethiopia
Charles NTEZUMWAMI Chairperson of B.V.A
CC: Administration for refugees and returnee Affairs in Ethiopia
Ethiopia prime Minister
UNHCR Geneva Headquarter
American Embassy in Ethiopia
Canadian Embassy in Ethiopia
Human Right watch in Ethiopia
Congolese Banyamulenge Victims in Ethiopia
Tel: +251-911046337, +251-910647459
MOHAM’D ADEN CAMP:IFO I’m above mensioned person currently living in ifo camp,i ve joined to the refugee in the 1st january 1992,infact the problem i ve is a ressetlenet,the r many people who ‘ve gone and they cme after us,the people that we cme in asme day were given ressetlent,i wantd 2 knw why ths people who were after us are getting ressetlement and me stl,please send the reply through e-mail adress.THANKS.
Dadab refugees were completely forgotten. We will wait help from God the almighty.
I am from the Solomon Islands, a small tiny
friendly Nation in the Pacific Ocean. I want
somebody from the camp to be my friend. Email me
as soon as you find one, thanks.
If someone is interested they will email you.
Jonathan’s email address is :