The Star (Nairobi)

31 December 2012

Kenya: Over 200,000 Displaced in 2012, Says New Report

MORE than 118,000 people have been newly displaced due to inter-communal and resource0based violence in 2012, a new report by Norwegian Refugee Council's Internal displacement monitoring centre released on Friday says.

Apart from displacements resulting from conflicts and violence linked to a combination of ethnic, political and economic factors, the report also says tens of thousands more have been displaced as a result of natural disasters and development projects in the country.

The report says although the current displacements have mostly affected pastrolists in arid and semi-arid areas, it warns that conflict and violence is on the rise and that more displacements may follow the March 4 general election if reconciliation efforts and other strategies to deter violence are not put in place.

It documents that Moyale leads with 50, 592 IDPs, Tana River with 30,000, Samburu 11,000, Isiolo 9,575, and 4,255 for Baringo. Wajir, Nandi and Masaba have 1,785, 1,000, and 500 IDPs respectively.

Cattle rustling and inter-community clashes - some of which also involved groups from Ethiopia, South Sudan and Uganda - the report cites that continued to force pastoralist communities to flee their homes in northern Kenya and central Rift Valley. Frequent displacements in the areas are also linked to politics.

The report also says the current displacements mainly affecting pastoralists in arid and semi-arid areas are not acknowledged and their needs not addressed.

"There has been a tendency not to consider pastoralist groups as displaced because they are by definition mobile," the report says, "Given that pastoralists' identity is closely related to their livestock, subsistence rights need to be addressed within the relevant socio-cultural context. There is currently no conceptual understanding of durable solutions specific to Kenya's displaced nomadic population, and as a result no response that aims to achieve them," it adds calling for sensitization of all parties involved to the need to take the rights of pastoralist IDPs into account in the planning, programming and response phases.

Despite the end of the post-election conflict of 2007 and 2008, violence the report says that there has continued new displacement across the country with recent developments showing that conflict ad violence are on the rise, leading to more displacements.

However lack of reliable data on IDPs and their location, including those who have returned to their places of origin or resettled elsewhere, remains a major challenge.

Although a large number of Kenyans displaced during the post-election violence of 2007 and 2008 are still struggling to find durable solutions, the level of service provision and donor attention is rapidly declining it warns.

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