, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 29 – The African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on Wednesday told the AU summit in Addis Ababa that Kenya has done a lot to resettle Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
The two bodies said in reports to the summit that resettlement of IDPs was complex since displacement of people in Kenya was not limited to the 2008 Post Election Violence (PEV).
“The Government of Kenya recognised the fact that it had primary responsibility for the protection and assistance to those in displacement and embarked on measures to fulfil this responsibility by undertaking resettlement and relief efforts in this regard,” the AU report explained.
“These actions were taken in an environment recovering from violent conflict and therefore, conducted such relief efforts under rather fluid circumstances.”
The AU said Kenya combined the resettlement efforts with psycho-social support in consideration that the displaced persons had suffered trauma due to the violence that left over 1,000 people dead and displacement of over 600,000 others.
This was also backed up by IGAD which emphasised the importance of resettling displaced persons and combining it with the healing process.
IGAD appreciated the partnership between the government and other bodies to implement a key agenda in the resettlement, healing and reconciliation process.
“Kenya partnered with other stakeholders, for example, the Kenyan Red Cross and UN agencies to facilitate IDPs’ closure from the psychological wounds associated with PEV. As at November last year 122,245 survivors had received psychosocial trauma counselling,” IGAD noted.
The AU noted that despite the complexity of the problem of displacement, the government was keen to complete the resettlement and compensation programme which in its view was commendable.
Based on information gathered during field visits in Kenya last year, the two bodies concluded that displacement of people was a challenge even before PEV and was also as a result of other situations especially terrorism linked to a series of attacks by the Al Shabaab militia group in the last two years.
Tribal clashes in certain parts of Kenya were also another challenge the AU and IGAD identified as a challenge that increased the number of displaced persons.
“While the milestones achieved by Kenya since 2007 are many, new forms of violence, in particularly radicalization, threaten to reverse the gains so far made. In fact, at the time of the mission, groups associated with Al-Shabaab are said to have killed civilians in the Mandera region of North East Kenya, generally brewing a situation of unrest,” IGAD explained.
The two presentations were made during the ongoing 24th Ordinary Session of the AU in Ethiopia.