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6th June, 2013
By Patrick Donald Oucha    and    Tony Irungu
In Kenya

The speed at which Asylum seekers and Refugees are being buried within functioning cemeteries in Kakuma refugee camp has a lot to be questioned by sympathizers and the concerned authorities purportedly registered to uplift refugee livelihood.
Ordinarily, a camp like Kakuma was established to function as a clearing facility, where Asylum seekers would walk in,register, file cases, attend eligibility interviews for Refugee status Determination among other issues.

However, in the past five years, the said tradition of leave to stay for a short period of time has been forgotten by relevant authorities and some refugees in Kakuma refugee camp have lived without a clue of when and how they would be moved to a country of their own choice. By signs of littered graves in the camp, it shows that over the two decades that Kakuma refugee camp has been in existence, thousands of Refugees and Asylum seekers perished before reaching their desired countries of choice.
On the spot  interviews carried out with sections of Refugees and Asylum seekers in Kakuma gives a pointer at mainly underfeeding, poor medical treatment and low levels of professionalism exhibited in the course of handling medical cases surrounding sick and ill refugees. Also the facilities therein do not have impact on specialized cases like those of heart ailments, sickle cell anemia, mental illnesses among others.

The challenges facing Asylum seekers and Refugees in Kakuma refugee camp are mostly punctuated by rampant deaths, unmarked graves, starvation,emotional disorder among others. The situation would quickly propel any sensible human rights lawyer, film maker, investigative journalist to engage in a logical analysis of issues therein. Such analytical press work is designed to simply empower authorities concerned with timely information to enable them restrategize so that the core functions of UNHCR are implemented to the benefit of vulnerable Refugees and Asylum seekers.

For the sake of digesting in bits and pieces what the functions of UNHCR are; UNHCR provides international protection to Asylum seekers and the second function is that of Seeking Durable Solutions to issues surrounding such persons.
The first function of international protectionis working fairly well  in Kakuma refugee camp, backed by provision of security by the government of Kenya. However the said function has a lot of challenges in the area of food security. Kakuma refugee camp, if you site function number two  of UNHCR seeking  durable solutions, it has no ingredients or supportive content to enable one  generate  durable solutions, for instance, Asylum seekers have lived on W.F.P food handouts for the last two decades. This arrangement does not propel self-reliance which is very necessary for an individual to depend on.

The WFP handouts to Refugees and Asylum seekers has become very addictive, brainwashed thousands of powerful minded Africans and have had their lives ruined. Under function number two(seeking durable solutions) UNHCR works with governments to facilitate voluntary repatriation of refugees and also reintegration into their country of origin or where this is not feasible, to facilitate their integration in the host countries or their resettlement in third countries of choice. But analytically speaking, KAKUMA REFUGEE CAMPis stuck, with little of the above mentioned activities taking place.

The camp is facing total information black out with sections of Asylum seekers losing track of current affairs, necessary to keep them informed. Asylum seekers and refugees also have little or no access to legal clinics. In Kakuma, the refugee consortium of Kenya is seen to be struggling to deliver legal AID to refugees amidst uphill challenges. That is to say Refugees and Asylum seekers are simply on the yes side even though it was not in favor of their rights.

With this little bit, we put emphasis on the untimely death of one Ugandan Asylum seeker named Camellias Ochayawho secured  international protection in Kenya mid-April only to meet his mysterious  death on the 3rd of June 10, 2013 at UNHCR refugee hospital-Kakuma.

We shall also dissect in bits and pieces the challenges facing some refugees who are due for referrals to specialized hospitals but facing denials In terms of documentation, facilitation and timely referrals.
Like someone in fear of his life, CammeliusOchaya formerly a young man destined to be a priest hadall his attention glued on Bible reading and dissemination of religious programs. A devoted Christian legally married to one AtimJane with 4 children.Inuganda, cammelius had problems which could not allow him to live peacefully in his own district at Kitgum(northern Uganda). He relocated to Mbarara (western Uganda) district to join his wife there. In mid-April, Ochaya crossed to Kenya abode a Nairobi bound bus and quickly reported to the office of the Vice President on his knees begging for asylum. The deceased was issued with a travel permit to Daadab refugee camp but later changed his mind in favor of Kakuma refugee camp where he met his death.

In Nairobi, Cammelius had been confined in an undisclosed location with other asylum seekers where only the sick ones were allowed to move out of the confinement.Camellias, being sick was taken to Kenyatta National Hospital where the medics confirmed that he had heart complications that needed serious and urgent attention. He had with him documentations from Uganda Heart Institute with the scanning version of his heart condition.

Arriving in Kakuma Refugee Camp around late April Cammelius was exposed to no proper treatment to match his health condition. According to UNHCR manifest with the ration card number 1121275 Cammelius was allocated official place at Kakuma 2 zone 2 block 7, but to his big surprise he was taken to  Kakuma 3 zone 3 block 13 just near the cemetery. The hot tent conditions and the distance to a nearby health facility became issues at hand.

Cammelius could hardly walk 500 meters on his own by then. When he got the strength to go to the hospital, the doctors there scheduled him a one week appointment and also referred him to the field post forgetting the serious conditions that Cammelius was in. His struggle to seek for help finally paved way for formal admission to UNHCR refugee hospital-Kakuma.
At the hospital, Cammelius was reportedly uncomfortable with some medics who boldly told him to contact his wife because he was not likely to make it.

When Cammelius was visited in the hospital, he disclosed that some people were saying he would go to America or another country that would address his condition. However some top doctors from UNHCR were contacted to review Cammelius condition and on Friday 31st may, he was spotted abode a UNHCR official vehicle that dropped him back to the hospital.
According to the development, some doctors at the UNHCR establishment were picking interest to help Camelius out of danger urgently.

On a weekend, Saturday 1st June and Sunday 2nd June, 2013, he was reportedly lively but his death came as ashock to both family members and ward mates. Others said that Camelius died when he was ata toilet facility but whatever the case, Cammelius life could have been saved if authorities at the hospital had exercised empathy, sympathy and true love for humanity.

Just to mention, he should have been taken to a heart specialist with necessary facilities to control his condition.
Little has to be said about Ochaya now that he is gone but his death surely has a lot of lessons to be learnt on how to prioritize health cases and fix personal pride out of professional work. That is to say, it is irresponsible for a doctor to give appointment of one week to a person who you know very well  could die tomorrow if not seen and worked upon or referred to another hospital urgently.

Pockets of complainants are still voiceless in Kakuma Refugee Camp and are nursing pains that can only be rectified by specialized hospitals, which are not found in Kakuma. This whole scenario calls on UNHCR to rethink its policy on how to handle emergency health cases vis a vis Refugee Status Determination (RSD).
Efforts to seek clarifications from UNHCR sub office has been fruitless.
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