Impact of refugees on host communities : the case of Kakuma Refugee camp, North Western Kenya, 1992 -2002
Tureti, Martha K
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The broad objective was to establish the socio-cultural and economic effects of refugees on the host community. The theory of Social Change provided the framework within which this work was done, meaning that values and norms of the refugees could have been diffused to and adopted by the host community. The study gave particular emphasis on the Kakuma Refugee Camp between 1992 - 2002. The main concern of the study was to explore how the refugees inclusive of the refugee agencies' interventions impact either negatively or positively on the host community. The refugee problem in Sub - Saharan Africa extensively narrated. Refugee protection issues were tackled in my work and serves as a background to United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR). The study found out that in defining the links between refugee flows and their impact on receiving communities, the proposition is that government repression or persecution, domestic conflicts, or regional wars generate refugees. Refugee problems, however, are not only consequences of conflicts or wars, but vi Increasingly are causal factor sometimes even the primary cause of conflicts as in the case of Kakuma refugee camp. When it comes to refugee movements and settlements, my study found significant impact of refugees on communal conflicts within the country of asylum. Refugees increased the rate of land and other limited resources use in Kakuma, and these frequently generated tensions between the new comers and the local indigenous populations of the area where they are concentrated. Refugee influx contributed to demographic strains, ecological strains and economic dislocation. There is the risk that the host communities could become involved in the conflict between refugees and their government, particularly if refugees represent a political or communal minority group in their country of origin. Even when refugee populations consist solely of noncombatants who are uninterested in political or militant action, there is risk that their presence along the border will raise tensions between host and source countries. However, it must be recognized that refugees cause both negative and positive effects on host nations and communities. I have concluded that the deprivations, needs, and capabilities of the weaker host communities as well as those of the refugees deserve to be taken into account by refugee agencies, so that the Turkanas will not continue languishing in poverty while refugees live in plenty.