86% of refugees ‘do not’ want to go home
Médecins Sans Frontières cites sexual violence and forced recruitment into armed conflict as reasons for reluctance
Eighty-six per cent of the refugees at Dadaab are not willing to return home for fear of sexual violence and forced recruitment into armed conflict, a report by Médecins Sans Frontières has said.
The report – “Dadaab to Somalia: Pushed Back Into Peril” – said 83 per cent of refugees said Somalia is “very unsafe” and children risk being radicalised. “It is clear that refugee camps are not the best ways to manage a protracted 25-year crisis, but closing them now without offering other lasting solutions pushes them back to a conflict zone where medical care is absent,” MSF general director Bruno Jochum said yesterday.
The Geneva-based aid group wants the Kenyan government to reconsider closing Dadaab, and instead work with the UN to find a voluntary, longterm solution, including resettling refugees in donor countries.
“This decision is yet another blight on refugee protection globally, where again we see total failure in providing a safe haven for people in danger. The UN itself has recently declared that five million are at risk of hunger inside Somalia. Sending back even more people to suffer is both inhumane and irresponsible.” MSF said some children arrive in Dagahaley – one of the camps in Dadaab – from Somalia without being vaccinated. This is an indication of a health system that is torn apart in Somalia, the MSF report says. MSF runs a 100-bed hospital and two health posts in Dadaab.
The survey was conducted between July and August. Eight hundred and thirty eight households 5,470 individuals in total were interviewed ( 53 per cent men and 47 per cent women).
“Somalia is currently not in a position to take care of itself, and so the decision to move the refugees back only exposes them to imminent danger,” a community leader is quoted as saying. In May, Kenya announced it will close Dadaab by November citing security concerns.
A Somali refugee is forced out of the queue outside the Ifo 2 refugee camp in Dadaab, near the Kenya-Somalia border, in Garissa county, on July 28, 2011