UCF Global Perspectives


Somali Refugees in Kenya Blocked from United States

Christy Box, Global Connections Scholar, Human Rights and Refugees

February 3, 2017

Over 200 Somali refugees intended for resettlement in the United States have been unable to travel due to the U.S. travel ban. The United Nations stated approximately 13,000 Somali refugees have been approved by the United States Citizen and Immigration Services, but their resettlement has been halted due to the travel ban. Kenya has hosted Somali refugees since 1991 when dictator Siad Barre was ousted by warlords who then began to fight each other (AP). Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, leader of the African Union, said that U.S. travel halts for people from Libya, Sudan, Somalia and other Muslim-majority countries signal turbulent times for Africa (Reuters).

The Somali refugee situation is one of the most protracted in the world, as it is now in its third decade. One million Somalis are displaced in the surrounding regions, and an additional 1.1 million are displaced within Somalia. A special envoy for UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, stated that the extended displacement has led to a growing hopelessness among the refugees and fatigue from donors. Refugees currently in camps face challenges such as lack of food rations and limited access to education (UNHCR).






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