Kenyan refugees seek justice

15 December 2010 by Caasi Sagalai

“Life here is terrible. Our children are dying from the extreme cold. We are refugees in our own country,” says a resident of the Ya Mumbi Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Kenya’s Northern Rift valley region. Three years after violence swept the country following the December 2007 elections, Kenya clearly still struggles in its aftermath.

Grace Wakio is one of the IDPs who lost her home during the violence, which left more than 1,300 dead and hundreds of thousands displaced. Since then, they have been demanding punishment for perpetrators of the violence, adequate compensation for their losses and resettlement from the camps. But nothing much has come from the government.

“We don’t exist. The government makes empty promises to resettle us. We are an eyesore that they want to wish away, but we will remain here until something is done.” Grace is a broken woman.

The camp lies in the middle of a patch of government land separated from the rest of the population. Compromised hygienic standards and perennial diseases form part of the extreme living conditions in the camp. It is the place nearly 700 people call home, as they await justice.

ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo on December 15th is set to identify six people that allegedly orchestrated the post-election clashes. Ocampo started investigations into the case in May.

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