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

The Star (Kenya) - - News - ADOW MO­HAMED @ad­owmo

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.

/REUTERS

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

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