“It Is Better to Be a Refugee Than a Turkana in Kakuma”: Revisiting the Relationship between Hosts and Refugees in Kenya

Lupita Nyong’o is right: erasing her afro hair exposes the extent of prejudice
May 5, 2014
Kofi A. Annan: Universal values can help bridge the world’s divides
May 7, 2014

“It Is Better to Be a Refugee Than a Turkana in Kakuma”: Revisiting the Relationship between Hosts and Refugees in Kenya

DADAAB, KENYA - JULY 21: Newly arrived Somalian refugees settle on the edge of the Dagahaley refugee camp which makes up part of the giant Dadaab refugee settlement on July 21, 2011 in Dadaab, Kenya. The refugee camp at Dadaab, located close to the Kenyan border with Somalia, was originally designed in the early 1990s to accommodate 90,000 people but the UN estimates over four times as many reside there. The ongoing civil war in Somalia and the worst drought to affect the Horn of Africa in six decades has resulted in an estimated 12 million people whose lives are threatened. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

The article echoes stories and perceptions of the hosts to the refugees in their day-to-day relations in Kakuma refugee camp with little emphasis on academic abstraction of refugee protection contained in international instruments but rather on the realities on the ground. It is argued that good refugee-host relations enhance refugees’ enjoyment of their rights under the international conventions and promote local integration.

The article discusses areas of conflict between refugees and their hosts and how these factors endanger refugees’ physical protection, and it echoes the hosts’ solutions to the conflicts. The failure of local integration is attributed to poor refugee-host relations. Consequently, it is argued that even the enactment of refugee specific legislation “that would give force” to the international conventions will not necessarily improve refugees’ enjoyment of their rights as long as, through a practice of selective compassion by humanitarian agencies and international refugee law, refugees are targeted for assistance without regard to the negative impact on the local economy and its residents.

Full Text: https://refuge.journals.yorku.ca/index.php/refuge/article/view/23482/21678

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *