Refugees in Kenya come from her surrounding neighbors of Somalia, Sudan, and Ethiopia. Each have their own reasons for seeking refuge in Kenya and each create their own problems while dwelling in her borders.

Sudanese Refugees:

The influx of refugees from Sudan into the borders of Kenya originates from the current political unrest currently in Sudan. Ethnic violence coupled with the ongoing civil war has caused nearly 15,000 to flee to Kenya, joining 50,000 refugees who were already in the country. Mainly populating refugee camps, Sudanese refugees have continued to see tension, even after relocating. Violence has broken out on many occasion within the "safe-haven" of Kakuma, due to conflict among refugees of varying ethnic backgrounds.

Somali Refugees:

Due to civil war and famine within the borders of Somalia, many Somalis fled to Kenya during 1991-1992 in order to escape. The continued instability in the region has prevented about half of these refugees to return to Somalia. The problems that faced these refugees are still seen today, and are continuing to cause many to seek refuge within the borders of Kenya.

Ethiopian Refugees:

In the years of 1991-1992, there was a great surge in the number of refugees fleeing from Ethiopia into Kenya. Today, there are still a great number of those remaining, who were joined in 1999 by a new wave of asylum seekers. Although nearly 1,000 were repatriated back into Ethiopia, approximately 20,000 entered due to persecution,alleging charges of Ethiopian government detention and forced conscription.

Other Refugees:

Kenya is the host to Refugees from various other countries. Although less significant in number, in relation to the three other groups, equally as significant in importance. The largest bulk of refugees not categorized above hail from Uganda and Rwanda.

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© December, 2000 -- Rebecca Dudczak (http://www.mtholyoke.edu/~rjdudcza)