Kenya Government and United Nations launch the Kiswahili version of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement

(Nairobi: 15 October, 2008): The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of State for Special Programmes Mr. Ali D. Mohamed and Mr. Aeneas Chuma Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator in Kenya today launched the Kiswahili version of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.

Speaking at a press conference, Permanent Secretary Ali said that, "the Guiding Principles stand to benefit a great number of the displaced population and will help to further promote the rights of the displaced population and provide the path to achieving durable solutions."

In 2007, the estimated number of people displaced within their countries by armed conflicts and violence passed the 26 million mark, the highest global total since the early 1990s. Africa hosted almost half of the global IDP population (12.7 million) and generated nearly half of the world's newly displaced (1.6 million).

The post election violence in Kenya in 2008 resulted in the displacement of approximately 500,000 persons. To date the Government of Kenya estimates that less than 10,000 people remain in IDP camps and more than 228,000 have returned either from IDP camps or from within communities. This has in part been facilitated by the Government's provision of start up funds and by the ongoing shelter project which aims to provide 40,000 houses to those whose homes were destroyed or badly damaged during the crisis. Of those who have returned it is believed that at least 54,000 people are located in transit sites. A large number of those living in these sites do not own or have access to land and require alternative means of income generation.

The Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator Mr. Aeneas Chuma, noted that, "displacement ends when particular needs and vulnerabilities linked to the displacement are resolved and not always with return". He continued to say that, "for these people and for those who have not yet returned, continued assistance and support is required to find durable solutions".

As we continue to assist the displaced populations renewed efforts are required to ensure consultation with the displaced communities to enhance their participation in the decision-making concerning their future, in addition to providing support for their continued access to livelihoods to sustain their lives.

This year, 2008 marks the tenth anniversary of the original publication of the Guiding Principles. A conference on the same aims to generate the political will to incorporate the Guiding Principles into national, regional and global legal frameworks and make progress towards their implementation through effective measures taken by governments, thus enhancing the protection afforded to the world's over 26 million IDPs. It therefore is relevant and timely that a Kiswahili version of the Guiding Principles has been launched in Kenya.

For more information please contact: Luluwa Ali; United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - Kenya; Tel: +254-20-7625146; Cell: +254-727-532144


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