GIVING special treatment to refugees in Africa at the expense of the host communities gives rise to the xenophobia that judges and magistrates said is an impediment to refugee protection.
At the just concluded two-day International Association of Refugee Law Judges - African Chapter in Mombasa, the judges said host communities envied the refugees due to special treatment given to them.
Kenya Judges and Magistrates Association chairperson Martha Koome said UNHCR should be mindful of the host communities plight when dealing with the refugee matters.
"In as much as we point out other hindrances to refugees' protection in Africa, host communities have been left behind in the whole process.
"To some point, you find host communities do not have basic commodities unlike the refugees who are being provided for by the donors," said Koome.
Koome said these results to xenophobic feeling among the host communities who threaten the security of refugees. "They come, scramble for resources and create conflict. This when added up to the xenophobia, results into chaos in the country that is hosting them."
"Striking a balancing act when protecting them therefore becomes a problem because the issue of national interest comes first," she said.