Hundreds of refugees and Turkana County residents on 20 June came out in large numbers to commemorate this year’s World Refugee Day 2014.
The venue of this year’s celebrations marked inside a compound that houses IOM Peace Centre in Kakuma town is a big departure from past years which has seen the day commemorated in Nairobi.
Somali, Congolese, Burundian and South Sudan refugee dance groups punctuated the air with colourful traditional tunes and impressive dances. The charged crowds defied the sweltering conditions and the swirling dust to mark the day.
Haron Komen, Kenya’s acting commissioner for refugee affairs praised humanitarian agencies specializing in refugee affairs for providing durable solutions such as resettlement in third countries.
He emphasized the government’s stand that repatriation of any refugee is voluntary and not forced and appealed to refugees willing to be repatriated to register with Department of Refugee Affairs offices.
Refugees also took part in a peace run in Kakuma town organized by the Tegla Loroupe peace foundation. The run was to sensitize locals on the need to shun conflicts.
Among the chief dignitaries included envoys from U.S, Britain, Senegal, Uganda, head of humanitarian agencies and the leadership of Turkana County.
This year’s celebration under the theme “one family torn apart is too many” comes at a time when Kenya is receiving thousands of South Sudanese refugees fleeing conflict in their home country.
Earlier on, US ambassador to Kenya, Robert Godec was taken on a tour of IOM clinic in Kakuma refugee camp to see the medical health assessment process for the United States Refugee Resettlement in Kakuma.
The project is a partnership between CDC’s Division of Global Migration and the US Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (BPRM). CDC and BPRM are co-funding this project for approved refugee applicants in the US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP).
The goal of the project is to provide cost-effective public health interventions, improve refugee health, and limit the number of vaccinations refugees will need after they arrive in the US.