Education services in Somalia are provided by a variety of stakeholders, including Community Education Committees, regional administrations, community-based organizations, educational umbrella groups and networks, NGOs and religious groups. The role and reach of governments in overseeing the delivery of education has increased, albeit slowly. Despite major improvements in overall school enrolment over the last eight years, only 710,860 children out of an estimated 1.7 million (UNDP projection) of primary school age children – 42 per cent of children – are in school. Of those at school, 36 per cent are girls.
Only 15 per cent of the teaching force are women with the majority being unqualified. The average primary student teacher ratio is 1:33. These national figures hide significant regional level variations.
Poor learning outcomes are reflected in the high repetition and drop-out rates and low examination pass rates. Less than 38 per cent of those enrolled in 2001/2002 in grade one successfully progressed to grade five in 2006/2007. Only 37 per cent of girls who transitioned from primary school took the Form Four exam in 2011/2012. The demand for secondary school education continues to grow steadily, yet girls make up only 28 per cent of students at that level.
(Nairobi) – The Kenyan authorities should reconsider a new plan to forcibly move 50,000 registered refugees and asylum seekers from cities to overcrowded and underserviced refugee camps. Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku made the announcement on March 26, 2014, three days after unidentified attackers killed six people in a church near Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa.
Such a move would violate a July 26, 2013 Kenyan High Court ruling, which quashed an identical government refugee relocation plan from December 2012. The court said the relocation would violate refugees’ dignity and free movement rights, and would risk indirectly forcing them back to Somalia. It also said the authorities had not proved that the move, which followed a series of grenade and other attacks in Kenya by unidentified people, would help protect national security.
“Kenya is once again using attacks by unknown criminals to stigmatize all refugees as potential terrorists,” said Gerry Simpson, senior refugee researcher. “This plan to force tens of thousands of refugees into appalling conditions in severely overcrowded camps flouts a crystal clear court ruling banning such a move.”
Ole Lenku said on March 26 that,“All refugees residing outside the designated refugee camps of Kakuma and Dadaab are hereby directed to return to their respective camps with immediate effect.” Citing “emergency security challenges” in Kenyan towns, he also said that, “Any refugee found flouting this directive will be dealt with in accordance with the law.”
In January 2013, Human Rights Watch called on the authorities to drop their first relocation plan. Human Rights Watch said then that the authorities had failed to show, as international law requires, that the plan was either necessary to achieve enhanced national security or the least restrictive measure possible to address Kenya’s national security concerns. The plan also unlawfully discriminated against refugees because it would allow Kenyan citizens to move freely while denying refugees that right.
Kenyan police operations in Nairobi and Mombasa have frequently committed serious human rights violations against both refugees and Kenyan citizens in the wake of attacks.
A May 2013 Human Rights Watch report described how Kenyan police in Nairobi tortured, raped, and otherwise abused and arbitrarily detained at least 1,000 refugees, including women and children, between mid-November 2012 and late January 2013 following grenade and other attacks. The police called the refugees “terrorists” and said they should move to the camps.
The new relocation order comes after numerous statements by senior Kenyan officials, going back as far as March 2012, calling on Somali refugees to return to Somalia.
On January 17, the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, issued guidelines on returns to Somalia and called on countries not to return anyone before interviewing them and ensuring they do not face the threat of persecution or other serious harm if returned. On January 28, UNHCR also issued a news release about the guidelines, appealing to all governments “to uphold their obligations” not to forcibly return anyone to Somalia unless they are convinced the person would not suffer persecution or other serious harm upon return.
UNHCR said that southern and central Somalia “remains a very dangerous place” and that it “consider[s] the options for Somalis to find protection from persecution or serious harm within Southern and Central Somalia to be limited.” The agency said that this “is especially true for large areas that remain under the control of the Islamic militant group Al-Shabaab,” which “prohibits the exercise of various types of freedoms and rights, especially affecting women” and uses “public whipping, amputation … and beheadings” as punishment.
UNHCR also said that al-Shabaab attacks in Mogadishu, the capital, that killed civilians had increased in 2013 and that the Somali authorities are “reported to be failing to provide much of [the] population with basic security.”
Kenyan authorities should not press refugees to return to Somalia. Such pressure would violate Kenya’s obligations not to forcibly return – or refoule – refugees to situations of persecution or generalized violence.The ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Dadaab camps in Kenya – where about 400,000 refugees are crammed into space meant for 170,000 – and the lack of properly developed new camps there or near the Kakuma camps means that any transfer of refugees from the cities to the camps would also breach Kenya’s international legal obligations. They require Kenya not to adopt “retrogressive measures” that would negatively affect refugees’ rights to adequate standard of living – including food, clothing and housing – and to health and education.
On March 10, the international humanitarian organization Médecins sans Frontières, which runs health care programs in the refugee camps, released a report describing the serious humanitarian conditions and insecurity in the camps.
Foreign donors to Kenya and UNHCR should oppose the new relocation plan, based on its inevitable violation of refugees’ rights to free movement, basic social and economic rights, and the right not to be forcibly evicted.
“The new plan risks riding roughshod over Kenya’s High Court and a range of refugees’ fundamental rights,” Simpson said. “Foreign donors to Kenya and UNHCR should encourage Kenya to abandon the plan.”
|The Qatar Relief Alliance of charitable societies has announced the initiation of phase II of the Somalia and thePhilippines relief project after sending a field team for evaluation and submission of the final findings.|
On studying the visit findings, it has been agreed to implement recovery projects at Puntland in eastern Somalia for the purchase of cattle and fishing boats, rehabilitation of some artesian aquifers and healthcare centres and operation of four mobile clinics with a total
budget of $1.86mn.
Saleh bin Ali al-Mohannadi, secretary general of Qatar Red Crescent (QRC), said such projects were immediately introduced for implementation after the completion of phase I, where food and non-food items were delivered to more than 1,000 vulnerable families at a total cost of $1mn.
“Qataris rushed to the assistance of both distressed nations to help our brothers in humanity. This is a clear manifestation of our culture and teachings that encourage people to rescue and provide relief to people during the times of distress,”
Aid packages assigned for each affected family in Somalia included 25kg rice, 25kg flour, 15kg sugar, 6litres of food oil, 2.5kg child formula and 2kg dates. Other items for each family included one large blanket, a tarpaulin sheet, a set of utensils and other goods to assist more than 70,000 people.
In the Philippines, the alliance has formed a technical team to evaluate the recovery projects of phase II. A technical study was carried out for some projects that would be implemented in the near future at a total cost of $4.5mn.
Phase I of the relief campaign has been accomplished by sending emergency aid exceeding $500,000 to provide relief to nearly 8,200 families (41,000 people) in the affected zones.
QRC, Sheikh Eid Charity, Qatar Charity, RAF Foundation and Al Asmakh Charity had formed the relief alliance on Qatar Solidarity Day with the people of Somalia and the Philippines, held on November 19, 2013.
The alliance organised several fundraisers to gather support for the Qatar Solidarity Day campaign in order to alleviate the sufferings of the people of Somalia and the Philippines by collecting financial and in-kind donations. It also invited schools and universities to support these philanthropic efforts in order to instil humanitarian values in the young generation of Qatar.