Kur­dis­tan, Avoid Kenya’s Refugee Mis­take

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS -

As Kur­dis­tan finds it­self in the midst of one of the world’s great refugee crises, there’s a les­son to be learned from the events un­fold­ing at the world’s largest refugee camp in Kenya.

Dadaab refugee camp, in north­ern Kenya, hosts over 500,000 So­mali refugees who have fled from the ter­ror of the Al Qaeda af­fil­i­ate al-Shabab. Given the in­flux of refugees into the Kur­dis­tan re­gion, one can cer­tainly ap­pre­ci­ate Kenya’s ac­com­plish­ment of pro­vid­ing refuge for hun­dreds of thou­sands over the last two decades since Dadaab’s estab­lish­ment.

Yet af­ter the re­cent ter­ror­ist attack on Garissa Uni­ver­sity, which killed 147, Kenya has pointed the fin­ger at res­i­dents of Dadaab as po­ten­tial cul­prits and se­cu­rity risks, now threat­en­ing to send half a mil­lion peo­ple un­will­ingly back to So­ma­lia.

"We have asked the UNHCR to re­lo­cate the refugees in three months, fail­ure to which we shall re­lo­cate them our­selves,” Wil­liam Ruto, Kenya’s Deputy Pres­i­dent, said. "We must se­cure this coun­try at what­ever cost."

While the ter­ror­ist attack on Garissa Uni­ver­sity is an in­cred­i­ble tragedy and might un­der­stand­ably spur new se­cu­rity mea­sures in the coun­try, the sense­less ex­por­ta­tion of half a mil­lion refugees doesn’t bring jus­tice to the mur­der­ers—in fact, it only in­creases the injustice and may well fuel more eth­nic ten­sion, which could lead to more at­tacks.

I’m 100% be­hind the fight against ter­ror­ism, but do­ing so “at what­ever cost” by evict­ing masses of in­no­cent, home­less fam­i­lies based solely on their eth­nic her­itage only con­trib­utes to cre­at­ing ter­ror among those who have al­ready fled from it. De­vel­oped na­tions have to con­sider hu­man rights. This is the very thing that makes the free world free and dif­fer­ent from the reign of al-Shabab, ISIS, and other ter­ror­ist groups.

Ruto, re­act­ing out of fear, is threat­en­ing to do some­thing that will only tar­nish Kenya’s solid rep­u­ta­tion of co­ex­is­tence and as an area of refuge.For the sake of hun­dreds of thou­sands of in­no­cent peo­ple, I hope we’ll see Ruto re­scind his threat and con­tinue to wel­come those who, like he, are afraid of the ter­ror of al- Shabaab and are seek­ing a peace­ful life in East Africa.

Kur­dis­tan, which now hosts near a mil­lion refugees who have come from var­i­ous back­grounds, may one day find it­self in the same sit­u­a­tion if, God for­bid, an attack oc­cured on Kur­dish soil. Be­fore­hand, we must now seek to cre­ate an in­clu­sive so­ci­ety that rec­og­nizes that there are le­git­i­mate ways to fight ter­ror and il­le­git­i­mate, par­tic­u­larly when it comes to dis­crim­i­na­tion against an en­tire eth­nic group for the sins of a few. Mess­ing it up and sac­ri­fic­ing hu­man rights, in a mo­ment of panic, will only add to the very ter­ror and hu­man rights abuses that we’re all fight­ing against and that refugees are run­ning from.

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