UN Expert calls for renewed efforts to protect and assist Kenya’s internally displaced persons as essential to conflict resolution and peacebuilding

Source: United Nations Human Rights Council

Date: 27 May 2008

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UN Expert calls for renewed efforts to protect and assist Kenya’s internally displaced persons as essential to conflict resolution and peacebuilding


Nairobi and Geneva, 27 May 2008 – “At this crucial beginning of recovery, special efforts by the government, humanitarian agencies and the donors are essential if the return of those displaced by the post-election violence is to be sustainable and compatible with international human rights standards. In the absence of substantially increased efforts, we will jeopardize the fragile process of building and restoring of peace in displacement affected communities.” This is the main conclusion of Walter Kaelin, the Representative of the UN Secretary General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, at the conclusion of his working visit to Kenya, from 19 to 23 May 2008.

The Representative commended the Government of Kenya, the Kenyan Red Cross, the international humanitarian organizations and the people of Kenya for the effective assistance and support provided to those living in camps since they were displaced by the post-election violence of December 2007 and January 2008. Today, the government’s effort to return the displaced from camps to their fields and homes (Operation Rudi Nyumbani) create particular challenges. These challenges include ensuring that returns are safe and voluntary, providing humanitarian assistance in the areas of return and at the transit sites, and restoring full protection of the IDPs’ human rights in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. Continue reading

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Kenya: Complex Emergency Fact Sheet #14 (FY 2008)


Kenya: Complex Emergency Fact Sheet #14 (FY 2008)


U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
BUREAU FOR DEMOCRACY, CONFLICT, AND HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE (DCHA)
OFFICE OF U.S. FOREIGN DISASTER ASSISTANCE (OFDA)

Note: The last fact sheet was dated May 7, 2008.

KEY DEVELOPMENTS

– The Government of Kenya (GOK) continues to facilitate the return of approximately 350,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from temporary shelters in camps and host communities to pre-crisis lands. Between May 2 and 22, the number of IDPs residing in camps decreased from 158,891 to 95,454 and the number of camps declined from 157 to 124, according to the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS).

– Relief agencies report that the majority of returnees are farmers moving back to agricultural areas. Some IDPs, including some small business owners and landless individuals, continue to indicate a reluctance to depart camps without government assistance to help reestablish livelihoods. In addition, ongoing security concerns and the perceived need for further reconciliation is hampering returns in some areas.

– The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the GOK are working to register IDPs in host communities and return sites in order to provide targeted humanitarian and livelihood assistance to these populations. Registration is scheduled to be complete by June 30, although population movements are complicating the process.

– USAID/OFDA’s Early Recovery Team continues to monitor the returns process throughout affected areas of western Kenya, facilitate coordination and information sharing among U.N. and relief agencies, and work with implementing partners to support sustainable returns and early recovery.

NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
SOURCE
Conflict-Affected Population at Risk of Poverty(1)
2,000,000
The World Bank – January 18, 2008
Estimated IDPs in camps and centers
95,454
KRCS – May 22, 2008
Estimated IDPs within host communities
196,000
NDOC(2) – March 26, 2008
Deaths(3)
1,020
NDOC – April 8, 2008
Kenyan Refugees in Uganda
2,000
UNHCR – April 18, 2008

FY 2008 HUMANITARIAN FUNDING PROVIDED TO DATE

USAID/OFDA Assistance to Keny: $9,223,232
USAID/FFP(4) Assistance to Kenya: $56,960,000
State/PRM(5) Assistance to Kenya: $14,943,105
Total USAID and State Humanitarian Assistance to Kenya: $81,126,337

CURRENT SITUATION

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KENYA: IDPs in Central reluctant to return to Rift Valley

KENYA: IDPs in Central reluctant to return to Rift Valley


Photo: Waweru Mugo/IRIN
Samuel Ngumo Kamau and wife, Teresia Muthoni, and their three-week old baby

RURING’U, 23 May 2008 (IRIN) – Samuel Ngumo Kamau cannot dispel the images of burning houses and Kenyans killing each other from his mind – a key factor in his decision not to return to his home of nearly four decades in Burnt Forest area in Rift Valley Province.

Kamau, a father of 10, who hails from Kamuyu Farm in Burnt Forest, has little trust in the government, which he accuses of “watching and doing nothing” while armed gangs violently ejected him and thousands more from their rich agricultural lands soon after presidential election results were announced in December 2007.

Having experienced the same tortuous treatment every election year since 1992 when the region repeatedly bore the brunt of tribal violence, he feels “enough is enough”.
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CCP Meeting – 09-05-08

MINUTES OF THE CCP MEETING HELD AT OXFAM OFFICES, SHELTER AFRIQUE HOUSE ON 09/05/08

CORE GROUP MEMBERS PRESENT


1. Amb. Bethuel Kiplagat


Matters Arising

Internally Displaced Camps

There is a concern that top political leaders are quiet about asking others to vacate and return property that does not belong to them. The Muslim Sheikh from Mombasa made a prayer that can be encouraged countrywide.

The full data of IDPs to be resettled will be provided by KVP in the next meeting. Nairobi Peace Forum can aid in this process.

It was observed that the identification of true IDPs is still a challenge.

Some IDPs have trained in different trades and hence, require start-up capital to finance their small ventures.

1. Mathare

–   Mwangi Kihara, the Chairman of the Mathare United Landlord organization P (MALUO) reported that negotiation between Landlords and illegal occupants of houses in Mathare is ongoing. So far at least 111 illegal tenants have agreed to leave the houses. KVP (Kenya Veterans for Peace) has been facilitating this process.

–    It was reported that some illegal occupants were being supported by the area Chief.

–    Residents in Mathare still fear that they are being marked.

–    Gangs involved in harassing residents mostly come from Baba Dogo area and are largely responsible for the massive destruction of infrastructure. Names are known to police and DC, but nothing is being done to stop them.

2. Kibera Continue reading

CONCERNED CITIZENS FOR PEACE MEETING: HELD ON 2 MAY 2008

CONCERNED CITIZENS FOR PEACE MEETING: HELD ON 2 MAY 2008 AT SHELTER AFRIQUE HOUSE, 1ST FLOOR

Kenya Veterans for Peace

KVP went to Mathare last week and have been carrying out a counting exercise involving landlords and IDP’s. From this exercise they have discovered that there are not only illegal tenants occupying premises but illegal landlords as well.

They visited a number of IDP camps and the numbers of IDP’s they have counted are as follows:

Mathare 4 B – 184

Mathare 4 A – 268

Gitathuru – 254

Mathare Chiefs Camp – 495

Police Depot – 1150

Ruaraka – 31

In Ruaraka 77 people claim to be IDP´s but they are not genuine.

KVP sources have discovered that there is illegal registration of IDP’s going on in Eldoret. These people have been receiving fertilizer and farm inputs meant for the displaced. This information has been dispatched to the DO & DC Eldoret.

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OCHA Kenya Humanitarian Update vol. 18, 1 – 9 May 2008

OCHA Kenya Humanitarian Update vol. 18, 1 – 9 May 2008


HIGHLIGHTS

– 15,000 IDPs return home as government launches resettlement operation

– Food crisis looms as inflation nears 27%

– Government agrees to new IDP registration format

– Water and sanitation provision stabilizes in most camps

– Second phase of teacher training on peace education completed

The information contained in this report has been compiled by OCHA from information received from the field, from national and international humanitarian partners and from other official sources. It does not represent a position from the United Nations.

I. General Overview

The government of Kenya launched 5 May, Operation Rudi Nyumbani’resettlement’ in an effort to return Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to their home areas. The first phase of the operation is targeting IDPs in Trans Nzoia and Molo districts, building on trends of large numbers of IDPs spontaneously returning to their farms over the past two months. Some 15,000 people had been transported to their home areas by 9 May. Uasin Gishu and Naivasha Districts are slated for the second phase. Concerns have been expressed by many IDPs residing in camps as well as by members of the international communityonthe lack of consultations and planning with stakeholders prior to the operation.

The official start of the return operation followed a three-day tour of Rift Valley Province by President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga that ended on 26 April. They encouraged communities to reconcile so that the displaced could return to their homes and farms, a measure that could help soften the impact of the looming food crisis. The early stages of implementation of the resettlement illustrated some of the challenges faced by Provincial and District Commissioners to meet the needs of displaced persons and ensure their security and led to greater prudence and consultation in subsequent days. By 7 May, the operation had slowed due to the recognized need for more planning in many places of displacement. The District Commissioner (DC) of Uasin Gishu District, for example, implemented a more cautious and consultative return exercise where food and relief items were solicited and in place prior to commencement on Friday May 9th. Instead of using military vehicles for the operation, a practice that was criticized for the effective intimidation that military presence lent to the exercise, the KRCS provided the transportation to pre-assessed areas of return.

The government maintains that all resettlement efforts will be voluntary and reports suggest that the process has been largely based on the principle of voluntariness, building on pre-existing trends of spontaneous returns to farms where many have managed to cultivate their land. The Minister of Special Programmes assured IDPs that they could stay in camps until peace talks had been undertaken with local communities in areas of return. However, some coercion has been reported in specific camps by particular local authorities. Furthermore, the involvement of the military in the operation had added psychological pressure on IDPs to return in areas like trans Nzoia and Molo. Due to the sudden and expedited nature of the operation and lack of clear information about the operation and conditions in places of return, IDPs’ ability decisions about their choice to return may have been compromised.

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Crisis in Kenya: Land, displacement and the search for ‘durable solutions’

Crisis in Kenya: Land, displacement and the search for ‘durable solutions’


Key messages

– Current post-election displacement in Kenya is not a new phenomenon but a recurring trend linked to unresolved land grievances, in a context of poor governance and socio-economic insecurity. This is of concern to humanitarians as the failure to understand the dynamics involved and the implications for recovery can exacerbate tensions and jeopardise attempts to resolve the crisis.

– Humanitarians need to engage with land specialists to ensure that their programming not only avoids exacerbating tensions, but is also consistent with efforts to address the structural causes of conflict.

– Return, relocation and local integration processes should not be promoted as durable solutions in the absence of serious attempts to resolve land-related grievances. If durable solutions are to be found, programmes must take account of those who were forced to move in earlier waves of displacement.

– The government’s urgency in encouraging IDPs to return despite continued political uncertainty and insecurity raises clear protection concerns. This includes both physical security and wider issues to do with rights, community reconciliation and sustainable access to the means of subsistence.

– In the absence of political progress and stability, urbanisation is likely to accelerate as displaced people seek alternative livelihoods.

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