As one nation is fighting to ban refugees from War torn Somalia from entering their country, another is fighting to keep them in theirs. Later this week Donald Trump will make international headlines when, for the second time in less than a month, he will announce his intentions to implement a travel ban on all Somalian refugees/immigrants/travelers from entering the United States.
Two weeks ago Donald Trump accepted defeat and announced that he had no intentions of taking his travel ban to the Supreme Court, after 3 different lower courts had ruled it illegal and subsequently blocked it. What has gone largely unnoticed by Western media is that around the same time US courts were making these rulings, courts in Kenya were making similar rulings of their own.
As reported by Amnesty International on February 9th 2016, Kenya’s Highest Court “blocked the Kenyan government’s unilateral decision to shut Dadaab refugee camp.” Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes called the ruling “historic,” going on explain that had the ruling not gone through “more than a quarter of a million refugees” would have been “at risk of being forcefully returned to Somalia, where they would have been at serious risk of human rights abuses.”
Starting on November 14th 2016, months after first announcing their intentions to do so, Kenya’s Government began deporting asylum seekers and refugees from the Dadaab refugee camp back into War torn Somalia. As reported by Alternative Medi4 on November 15th, it was estimated that as many as “260,000 Somali refugees” in total were expected to be removed and thousands of forced evictions were currently underway.
According to the same report referenced above, the success of Februaries ruling “came in response to a petition by two Kenyan human rights organizations, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and Kituo Cha Sheria, supported by Amnesty International, which challenged the constitutionality of the government’s directive to shut down Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp, and the Department of Refugee Affairs.”
There is little doubt that court rulings in February 2017 are a direct result of actions first taken in November 2016.
We @AmnestyKenya are listed as the interested party.
— AmnestyKenya (@AmnestyKenya) November 7, 2016
Amnesty goes on to explain that despite their intention to close the Dadaab Refugee Camp entirely by November 30th 2016, after facing intense pressure from the international community, Kenya was forced to implement “a six-month delay on ‘humanitarian grounds’” – a true success of activism in our modern times.
However, it is important to note that any claim of victory is premature, this is true for both the United States and Kenya. Though courts in the United States ruled it “discriminatory” and therefore illegal for the Government to ban immigrants specifically from Somalia earlier this month, Donald Trump and his cabinet will be initiating a second travel ban for Somalia any day now – essentially rendering the initial courts ruling a mute point.
At the same time Amnesty has warned that this months desicion in Kenya offers only “a flicker of hope” for Somalian refugees, fearing that the ruling offers only a brief reprieve for these people and not a permanent solution. Much like with Trump and the US Government, authorities in Kenya seem intent on banning Somalians from their country. One way or the other, there seems to be little doubt that following the 6 month humanitarian window, Kenya’s Government will seek out every measure/opportunity possible to deport refugees from their country and prevent any more from entering.
While US and Kenyan Nationalists support such measures as a means of making their countries safer, few seem concerned about the future ramifications of such actions. Hundreds of thousands of Somalian refugees have left their country to escape War, terrorism and violence, not to participate in it. Moreover, these people had absolutely no control over War breaking out in their country in the first place – such actions are carried out by Governments, not citizens.
We are talking about people whom literally have nothing in life and are living their lives on the run, afraid and impoverished. These people endured nothing but heartbreak and tragedy and are now being falsely labeled as “terrorists” by countries, people and Governments far more privileged than they are – adding insult to injury. Not only this, but they are literally being forced back into the middle of a War/humanitarian crisis against their will, at gun point.
— Somaliupdate Online (@Somaliupdate) November 15, 2016
Do you want to know how terrorism grows and spreads? Look no further than what the US and Kenya are currently doing to these Somalians. Make no mistake, these “extreme vetting” measures in the US and deportations in Kenya will only be creating far more terrorists in the future than we see today – we are giving these people no other choice.
When you take away someones hope, you lead them towards desperation and extremism. Hatred and fear breeds hatred and contempt.
See the diffrence btwn Kids in Dadaab and those back at Home. Plz Give them opportunity. pic.twitter.com/C8EVog9TMG
— Dadaab Refugee Camps (@Dadaabrefugees) July 7, 2016
From Kenya to the USA we must all start doing more for humanity!