Kenyan Government Cracking Down on Somali Refugees

By Mark Yarnell

Four months ago, the Kenyan government launched a major crackdown against Somali refugees living in urban areas that involved mass arrests, extortion, and even deportations back to Somalia. This week, my colleague, Alice Thomas, and I are traveling to Kenya to assess the deteriorating situation for those refugees.

Living on a Loaf of Bread

By Guest

Little Mogadishu has been under siege for more than four weeks. Half of the Somali population here is either in Kasarani camp (a makeshift camp set-up at a football stadium 10 kilometers outside of Eastleigh), has been deported back to Mogadishu, or sent to the Dadaab or Kakuma refugee camps. The remaining half, including my brother and I, are forced to stay indoors for our own safety. We can’t go out for food, water, and medicine.

A War on Somali Refugees in "Little Mogadishu"

By Guest

Hungry and scared, I got up the courage to come out of our building in the morning to eat at a small restaurant on 8th Street in Eastleigh. What happened was so embarrassing. A Kenyan who was eating there immediately ran to the door and closed it before I came in. A few seconds later, the owner opened the door and told me, “Toka hapa” – “Leave here.” I walked back to my house starving.

This was the closest restaurant to our house. The Somali restaurants I sometimes visit were not open. Most of their owners and workers were spending their days in Pangani police station.

As Planning for Repatriation Ramps Up, Asylum Seekers Continue to Flee Somalia

By Mark Yarnell

At the same time that the Kenyan government is ramping up pressure for Somali refugees to return home, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has released new international protection considerations for people fleeing southern and central Somalia. The guidelines highlight the continued risks that these people face and stress the need for ongoing international protection of Somali asylum-seekers.

Trying to Be Safe

By Guest

I am sitting here in my room on a rainy Monday to write an essay about the challenges we as refugees face here in Nairobi. I just got back from school, and as I made my way home I held my breath until I reached my room. I am lucky I am here another day: safe and sound.

I Have Never Been So Worried as I Am Now

By Guest

Fear was never so close to me in Nairobi than on September 21 of this year, when Al Shabab gunmen stormed the Westgate Mall. I was with some friends at the time in a small makeshift tea shop on a street in Eastleigh, where many Somalis live. Everyone in that area was going about their business.

When I first heard about the attack, I followed the news on radio and TV. My assumption was that what was happening in Westgate was a robbery, but everything instantly changed when it was announced that Somali Islamist group Al-Shabab was responsible. I froze in fear.

Somalis Fear Reprisals Following Westgate Tragedy

By Mark Yarnell

On Saturday, militants stormed the Westgate mall in downtown Nairobi, throwing grenades and executing shoppers and diners. The latest death toll stands at 67, but bodies are still being recovered from the damaged building so that number could rise.

Kenya: Why Are We Forsaking Refugee Hosts?

By Guest

In a surprising reversal of government policy, Kenya’s High Court recently struck down a government mandate that, if implemented, would have forced refugees out of Nairobi and relocated them into camps.

Without Solutions for IDPs, Somalia's Recovery Can't Succeed

By Mark Yarnell

It has been nearly a year since Somalia established a new federal government, ostensibly ending years of political transition. Some areas in Somalia are indeed experiencing increased stability and economic revival, but overall, a severe and complex humanitarian crisis continues and many challenges remain – especially for the country’s 1.1 million internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Kenyan Court Upholds Right of Refugees to Live in Cities

By Mark Yarnell

On Friday, the High Court of Kenya issued a landmark decision on refugee rights. The court struck down a December 2012 government directive that would have forced all refugees living in cities to relocate to camps and suspended all registration and support services for city-dwelling refugees and asylum-seekers.

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