Understanding Refugee Integration: A Case Study Of Southern Sudanese Refugees In Nairobi: 1960-2005
This project explores the concept of integration and interrogates the question of what constituted integration for Southern Sudanese refugees in Kenya. The study frames these refugee‘s experiences in Ager and Strang‘s refugee integration indicators, namely that refugee integration occurs when refugees have equal access to Housing, Health Care, Education and Employment – the basic components of human livelihood, like the citizens of the host country. The study sought to find out whether these indicators are universally applicable. The project contends that while the domains of refugee integration exist, some indicators are disguised. This creates a false illusion of the refugee integration, since the indicators are not obvious. The refugee integration domains highlighted by Ager and Strand do not necessarily connote integration in Kenya, as illustrated with the Southern Sudanese Refugees study in Kenya. Integration to the Southern Sudanese Refugees is acceptance of diversity and mutual co-existence with Kenyans. The project demonstrates that while the United Nations Universal Act, article 25 obliges member states to integrate refugees, however it gives countries, a wide berth to define refugee integration on their own terms. As a result refugee integration experience is not uniform and is specific to different interpretation and terms of host countries conditions. The paper highlights that refugees have their own agenda and participation as they enjoy rights in host countries. Their agenda may falsely be interpreted as integration. Refugee integration can only be understood in the context of a specific country and not through a universal standard.
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