Saturday, April 30, 2011

Exile journalists urge UNHCR to adopt corrective policies.

In a joint statement received today, the Somali exiled journalists in
Kenya condemned the deliberate inaction and the systematically-adopted
policy by UNHCR of ignoring their Pressing problems and needs.

According to the journalists concerned, the UNHCR offices are
systematically ignoring and turning down their legitimate insecurity
claims and in most cases refuse to even listen to their legitimate and
simple pleas for assistance.

According to one journalist, who requested his identity to be hidden,
he has sought refuge in Kenya approximately a year ago and as per his
friends advice, he promptly visited the UNHCR office in Nairobi only a
day after he had arrived in Nairobi, when he finally reached there, he
was surprised to be received with arrogance and impatience by the
UNHCR staff.

“When ever I tried to explain anything, the registration staff was
inpatient, arrogant and utterly manner less, their final words were

Driven by strong security guards, I was forced to take the appointment
slip which indicated that my next appointment date will be eleven
months after that fateful day, ELEVEN MONTHS TO BE INITIALLY

Another journalist who experienced the same issue with UNHCR  goes by
the name “ Abdi”, Abdi explains his extended suffering with UNHCR
office in Nairobi saying that, he also has gone through the same
procedure explained above and was also given appointment date which
was nearly after ten months, and as result of that ,he has angrily
thrown his appointment slip inside nearby dustbin with the watchful
eyes of UNHCR officer who laughed carelessly while chanting faintly in
Swahili- “WARYAA WAJINGA” which roughly translates “CRAZY SOMALI

“Shortly after that, I realized that UNHCR is no more than just a big
lie, A BIG FREAKING BRAZEN FAT LIE” adds Mr.Abdi with quavering voice.

Another UNHCR  victim, “Mohamed” who used to be influential journalist
back in Mogadishu and still retains his strong and charismatic voice
adds ruefully;” I’ve got my UNHCR Mandate paper recently, and since
then I’m regular visitor to the UNHCR Protection office to address my
other problems which mainly spins around insecurity issues, the
protection staff are more like commercial bank cashers, they avoid
engaging in any direct conversation with you, as if you were infected
with leprosy, they actually hide behind thick layer of glass with
small aperture to pass written complain letters which then apparently
collected in Huge sacks and perhaps used to cook “UGAALI” – a popular
Kenyan traditional dish, or maybe  as rumored in EastLiegh –the
letters are used as cheap toilette papers; after its competitive
cleaning advantages have been discovered by UNHCR brilliant minds”.
Adds Mohamed

“ The Protection office problems are not limited only by its staff
behavior and their odd characteristics ,but more importantly, the fact
that ;there are literally no respect for personal privacy as if the
refugees are emotionless, senseless inhuman beings, to give an obvious
example , the protection officer usually sits behind a think layer of
glass, and can roughly hear you only when you rise your voice loudly ,
now, considering the level of sensitivity associated with the refugee
protection claims specially when it comes to reporting sexual related
matters (i.e. Rape, child molestation, sexual harassment and
protection claims based on insecurity or sophisticated political
conditions, its totally unacceptable that personal privacy is not
regarded as one of the UNHCR priorities” continues Mohamed.

Finally, The Somali Exiled journalists in Kenya urge the UNHCR to
adopt corrective policies with strict rules and mechanisms to ensure
the rights of Somali refugees particularly the exiled journalists are
fully protected, it’s very obvious that some of the UNHCR staff is
dealing with the refugees particularly Somali refugees in a manner
that is way far from the international humanitarian norms, and its
crystal clear that something ought to be done to restore the refugee
community’s  confidence in this crucial International organization.

By: ABDI ,

SOJANET members. Kampala, Uganda.