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19 Jul 2017 description

Testimony of Eric Schwartz
Refugees International
Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Subcommittee on Multilateral International Development, Multilateral Institutions, and International Economic, Energy, and Environmental Policy

"The Four Famines": Root Causes and a Multilateral Action Plan

01 Jun 2017 description

As Europe faces its largest movement of refugees and migrants since World War II, the majority of refugees and migrants are reaching its borders by crossing the Mediterranean Sea. While the majority of refugees and migrants arrived in Europe by crossing the sea between Turkey and Greece in 2015 and early 2016, the main route is currently between Libya and Italy.

04 Nov 2016 description

The Kenyan government’s threat to close the Dadaab refugee camp by the end of November would not only endanger the lives of several hundred thousand Somali refugees but has already caused irreparable harm and damage.

08 May 2016 description

Earlier today, the Kenyan government issued a deeply troubling statement on the closure of Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps. Citing national security concerns, Ministry of Interior Principal Secretary Dr. Eng Karanja Kibicho announced that “hosting of refugees has come to an end.” The statement is a major blow to the most basic fundamentals of refugee rights.

09 Sep 2014 description

Somali refugees in Kenya are facing pressure on multiple fronts. Earlier this year, the Kenyan government announced that all urban refugees must report to refugee camps. At the same time, the government launched a security operation aimed at rooting out alleged members of the Al Shabab terrorist organization from Eastleigh, a predominantly Somali neighborhood in Nairobi. Together, these two initiatives opened the door to increased levels of abuse, extortion, and harassment of refugees by the Kenyan police.

25 Aug 2014 description

In November of 2013, the government of Saudi Arabia began expelling large numbers of foreign nationals, including some 550,000 Yemenis, 180,000 Ethiopians, and 36,000 Somalis. While there has been little international attention or condemnation of these deportations, the returning individuals and their countries of origin have suffered many logistical, economic, and social ramifications due to this decision.

13 Aug 2014 description

By Alice Thomas

After decades of war punctuated by drought and famine, signs have emerged in recent years that Somalia may be heading toward a more peaceful and prosperous future. The terrorist group Al Shabab has been driven out of the capital and other areas (although attacks and assassinations are still a regular occurrence), a federal government has been elected and – despite limited capacity – assumed the reins of power, and economic projects are being planned and implemented.

05 Aug 2014 description

By Mark Yarnell

Driving east of downtown Nairobi, the paved road gives way to packed dirt. Our driver navigates the deep potholes, piles of garbage, and stagnant puddles. My RI colleague, Alice Thomas, and I are entering Eastleigh, otherwise known as “little Mogadishu” due to the high concentration of Somali refugees who live here. Many have been here since the early 1990s when war broke out in Somalia. Over the past two decades, they have been joined by thousands more who have fled continued conflict, persecution, and recurrent drought.

11 Jul 2014 description

By Mark Yarnell

Four months ago, the Kenyan government launched a major crackdown against Somali refugees living in urban areas that involved mass arrests, extortion, and even deportations back to Somalia. This week, my colleague, Alice Thomas, and I are traveling to Kenya to assess the deteriorating situation for those refugees.

26 Mar 2014 description

Washington, DC – Refugees International (RI) condemns Kenya’s decision on Tuesday to order tens of thousands of city-dwelling Somali refugees into camps. A similar decision in 2012 was declared unconstitutional by the Kenyan High Court, but not before it sparked violence, harassment, and extortion against refugees at the hands of Kenyan security services. RI calls on the Kenyan government to immediately withdraw this order, and RI asks the United Nations and donor countries to publicly oppose its implementation.

24 Feb 2014 description

By Mark Yarnell

At the same time that the Kenyan government is ramping up pressure for Somali refugees to return home, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has released new international protection considerations for people fleeing southern and central Somalia. The guidelines highlight the continued risks that these people face and stress the need for ongoing international protection of Somali asylum-seekers.

29 Nov 2013 description

People are in dire need of food, clean drinking water and shelter

Nairobi November 29 2013 – Over 100,000 people devastated by the recent cyclone in Somalia are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, aid agencies report. The tropical cyclone that hit the Puntland region of Somalia earlier this month resulted in the death of at least 80 people, mostly children and the elderly, and is estimated to have killed more than 100,000 livestock. Pastoralist communities appear the hardest hit.

08 Nov 2013 description


  • The Somali government must publicly condemn the short-notice, violent evictions of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and adopt protection guidelines and protocols to prevent forced evictions from both public and private land.

  • The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) must maintain a full-time international protection officer in Mogadishu to work with the Somali government on implementing eviction protection guidelines.

09 Sep 2013 description

Somalia's capital and the surrounding areas are home to several hundred thousand internally displaced people (IDPs). Despite a still volatile security situation, reconstruction and development are moving ahead at a rapid pace in Mogadishu. As a result, the city's IDP residents, who were displaced by famine and conflict, are being evicted from their camps and pushed to Mogadishu's periphery.

03 Sep 2013 description

By Mark Yarnell

It has been nearly a year since Somalia established a new federal government, ostensibly ending years of political transition. Some areas in Somalia are indeed experiencing increased stability and economic revival, but overall, a severe and complex humanitarian crisis continues and many challenges remain – especially for the country’s 1.1 million internally displaced persons (IDPs).

11 Apr 2013 description

I have experienced many challenges living as a refugee in Nairobi for two years. The first challenge is security, which is not guaranteed. I live in Eastleigh, a small neighborhood that has become a Somali enclave. A series of explosions took place here after Kenyan troops entered Somalia.

This caused a reaction among Kenyans, who blamed Somali refugees. Although there is an increased police presence in the area, Somalis are afraid of the police because of the way that they behave towards them.

27 Feb 2013 description

In December 2012, the Government of Kenya announced a directive that would force all refugees living in cities to relocate to camps, and shut down all registration and service provision to refugees and asylum-seekers in cities. This effectively empowered Kenyan security services to unleash a wave of abuse against refugees. That Kenya has not yet gone ahead with a forced relocation plan has led some to believe that the worst has been averted. Yet the directive caused severe harm even without being implemented. Many refugees felt forced to leave Nairobi following severe harassment.

31 Jan 2013 description

Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp is the largest of its kind in the world: a sprawling, jam-packed community housing nearly half a million vulnerable Somali refugees. During a visit this week to one section of the camp, known as Kambioos, my Refugees International colleague and I met a young Somali man named Ahmed who had just arrived by bus from Nairobi.

23 Jan 2013 description

Nairobi -- Refugees International (RI) is deeply concerned about Kenya’s recent decision to move 100,000 city-dwelling refugees into camps. This week, RI’s team in Nairobi interviewed refugees who described the fallout of this decision – including violence, harassment, and extortion suffered at the hands of Kenyan security services. RI therefore calls on the Government of Kenya not to pursue this relocation plan, and to ensure that the rights of all refugees are respected.