Threats to the resettlement and reintegration of IDPs, Kenya

NAIROBI, April 29, 2011(CISA

see also a tale of false threats and lies here

The government’s human rights agency in Kenya has complained heavily that some politicians are frustrating the current work of resettling Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
In a press statement, released by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) on April 29, 2011, cited a recent case on Tuesday, April 19, 2011, where about 255 families of IDPs were transported from Rongai in Nakuru, Rift Valley Province, to be resettled in Trans Nzoia district in the same Province.
“The Government had identified three farms in Endebbes at Chepchoina, Kapkoi and Kerita on which to resettle the IDPs. However, residents and local leaders, including Cabinet Minister Noah Wekesa and Member of Parliament for Sirisia, Moses Wetangula, have reportedly expressed opposition to the resettlement of IDPs in “their area”.
The human rights body pointed out in a four-page press statement, entitled Threats to the resettlement and reintegration of IDPs.
The planned resettlement has temporarily stalled in the face of stiff opposition by residents, says the human rights body.
It adds that the affected IDPS have now been forced to camp at Soil Conservation Primary School in Kitale Town under harsh conditions. It remains unclear what their fate would be once the school reopens in a week’s time, stressed the human rights body.
The human rights body also cited another incident where efforts to have IDPS resettled have been heavily frustrated.
 “On April 6, 2011, under similar controversial circumstances, the Government was forced to shelve a planned resettlement of approximately 850 IDPs on Rose Farm in Mau Narok following resistance from the Maasai Community and local leaders including Heritage Minister William Ole Ntimama. The local community said the land was their ancestral land and has since gone to court over the matter”.
The rights body reminded that IDPs, like other Kenyans, have every right to settle to settle anywhere in the country.
“Under article 39 of our Constitution, all Kenyans, including IDPs,  are Kenyans too and have the rights to settle anywhere in the country. Statements made by leaders bordering on intolerance and incitement against Kenyans who are IDPs undermine the provisions of the Constitution and are a breach of existing law. We remind everyone, particularly our leaders that statements that depict IDPs as ‘outsiders’ in certain places feed the same sentiments of hate and intolerance that brought about their displacement in the first place,” says the human rights body.
The rights body said that no substantive consultation with communities where IDPs are being resettled and this has been the cause of resistance and tension between these communities and IDPs.
Meanwhile Catholic archbishop for Kisumu archdiocese, The Rt. Rev. Zacchaeus Okoth on April 25 said IDPs   should be settled in their original areas.
The continued tossing around of post elections violence victims was unacceptable, he said as he presided over a funds drive for a convent at Mbaga near the Lake City of Kisumu.
“Resettling IDPs in area that are choking with landless people was not a wise idea. Efforts should be directed towards reconciling   Kenyans and having them go back to their farms,” said the Catholic prelate, who is current Chair of the Catholic Bishops Commission for justice and peace.
Each Kenyan came from somewhere, and this must be traced first for us to have a permanent solution to this problem, he added.
 John Cardinal Njue on his Sunday Easter homily at Nairobi’s Holy family minor Basilica described the IDPs issue as quite solvable.
“I do not think that the issue is insolvable. It is quite solvable, what we may be lacking is effective commitment of each of us, and more so the Government.”
The genesis of the current IDPs issue sprang up as a result of the country’s December 27 2007 controversial general elections, which resulted the infamous early 2008 post elections violence.
 As a result of the issue-post elections violence, an estimated over 1,000 were reported to have been killed, over 300,000 people reported to have been internally displaced and properties worth millings of Kenyan shillings reportedly to have been massively destroyed.
UNDP Policy on Early Recovery Here
Migration and displacement South of Sahara here
Long road home here
Strengthening early recovery for comprehensive reintebration of IDP returnees here
Out in the cold: Kenya IDPs here
Methodology: Rapid assessment on IDPs here
Conflict update in Northern Uganda here
Handbook for protection of IDPs here

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