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Archive for March 27th, 2011

Fewer Kenyans seeking asylum abroad

Posted by Administrator on March 27, 2011

Kenya’s most prominent asylum seekers last year were human rights activist Philo Ikonya (above), Bishop Gilbert Deya and Ms Zeituni Onyango, an aunt of US President Barack Obama. Photo/FILE

Kenya’s most prominent asylum seekers last year were human rights activist Philo Ikonya (above), Bishop Gilbert Deya and Ms Zeituni Onyango, an aunt of US President Barack Obama. Photo/FILE

Fewer Kenyans sought asylum in the industrialised world in 2010 compared to previous years, mirroring the rest of Africa’s descending trend.

A UN statistical overview of asylum applications in 44 industrialised countries shows a continuing downward trend globally, bringing the figure down to nearly half the level at the start of the millennium.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) report, “Asylum Levels and Trends in Industrialised Countries 2010”, deals with new asylum claims and does not show how many individuals were granted refugee status.

According to the report, 358,800 asylum applications were lodged in industrialised countries last year – down five per cent from 2009, and some 42 per cent lower than the decade’s peak in 2001, when almost 620,000 asylum applications were made.

There were 538 Kenyans seeking asylum in USA and Canada in 2010 compared to 588 the previous year, marking a 9.3 per cent drop.

Kenya’s most prominent asylum seekers last year were human rights activist Philo Ikonya, Bishop Gilbert Deya and Ms Zeituni Onyango, an aunt of US President Barack Obama.

Ms Ikonya, a journalist and political activist, fled Kenya in 2009 and lives in exile in Oslo, Norway, while an immigration court granted Ms Onyango permission to stay in the US in May 2010.

Bishop Deya is still fighting court battles in Britain to avoid deportation to Kenya where he could faces charges of child trafficking.

In 2001, Britain rejected more than 800 Kenyan applications for political asylum, accepting only 90.

In 1999, Britain’s Home Office reported that the number of Kenyans seeking political asylum had increased from 605 in 1998 to 885 that year. This was the first increase since the introduction of a visa requirement for Kenyans in 1996.

The Home Office statistics also showed that large numbers of Kenyans were applying for asylum while already in Britain, which may partly explain why it has been difficult for Kenyan students to get permission to study in the UK.

But Kenya, being a signatory to the 1951 United Nations Convention, the 1967 Protocol and the 1969 Organisation of African Union Convention, also continues to offer protection to refugees and asylum seekers.

The Department of Refugee Affairs (DRA) took over the reception and registration of all asylum seekers from UNHCR on March 1, 2011.

Besides Kenya, downward trends in asylum applications were recorded in the African continent, with Zimbabwe and Nigeria posting drops of 69 and 29 per cent, respectively.

Somalia, which occupied the third spot in 2009, fell to sixth in 2010. Putting the latest numbers into the context of recent emergencies in Côte d’Ivoire and Libya, High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres noted:

“Overall, it’s still the developing world that is carrying the lion’s share of responsibility for hosting refugees.

“Despite their many other challenges, countries like Liberia, Tunisia and Egypt have kept their borders open to people in need. I call upon all countries to support them.”

In 2010, people from nearly 200 countries or territories submitted at least one asylum claim in one of the 44 countries presented in this report.

Slightly less than half of all asylum applications were from Asia (45 per cent). Africa was the second most important source continent, contributing 25 per cent of all claims, followed by Europe (19 per cent), and the Americas (8 per cent).

Europe was the only continent showing an increase as a source of asylum applications in 2010, recording a 19 per cent jump, with more people from Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia requesting refugee status in 2010 than in 2009. The country of origin of some 3,000 asylum-seekers was unknown.

“We need to study the root causes to see if the decline is because of fewer push factors in areas of origin, or tighter migration control in countries of asylum,” said Mr Guterres.

The United States remained the largest asylum recipient for the fifth consecutive year, accounting for one out of every six asylum applications in the countries covered in the report.

The US saw an increase of 6,500 applications, partly due to a rise in the number of Chinese and Mexican asylum-seekers. France maintained second position, while Germany was third.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/Fewer+Kenyans+seeking+asylum+abroad+/-/1056/1134084/-/r33cg6z/-/index.html


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Tanzania halts ‘miracle cure’ after 52 die

Posted by Administrator on March 27, 2011

The rush for the so-called ‘wonder drug’ administered by the faith healer Ambilikile Mwasapile in northern Tanzania turned into a humanitarian crisis with deaths and injuries reported. Photo/FILE

The rush for the so-called ‘wonder drug’ administered by the faith healer Ambilikile Mwasapile in northern Tanzania turned into a humanitarian crisis with deaths and injuries reported. Photo/FILE

The pilgrimage to Loliondo for the alleged “miracle cure” was stopped on Sunday as it emerged 52 people had died awaiting treatment.

This came amid reports of a humanitarian crisis as thousands of sick people swamped the village for a herbal concoction, mugariga, administered by the Rev Ambilikile Mwasapile. It is claimed to cure all ailments.

“There will be no more trips to Samunge village (in Loliondo area) until people who are currently there have been served and left the area,” Ngorongoro district commissioner Elias Wawa Lalie said.

Medical experts have also expressed concerns about the potency and efficacy of the herbal treatment, although this has not stopped the flow of patients into Loliondo.

The Rev Mwasapile, 76, had on Saturday warned of a crisis as thousands mobbed his compound for treatment. (READ: Loliondo pilgrimage marred by deaths and accidents)

The remote village lacks basic amenities such as toilets, hotels and lodgings to cater for the large number of people streaming in.

Unconfirmed reports indicated that about 24,000 sick people and their relatives were queuing to see the cleric-turned-traditional healer.

Journalists at the weekend counted a convoy of up to 4,000 vehicles snaking into the village. About 100 vehicles had broken down on the rough road to the rugged hills overlooking Lake Natron where the old man has set up his “clinic”.

The cleric said in a two-page statement on Saturday as he pleaded with the authorities to stop the traffic for at least a week to clear the jam: “This is a pathetic situation and something should be done to stem the crisis.”

He added: “From today (March 26th) those intending to seek my services should wait until after April 1st when those in the queue should have been cleared.”

The retired pastor also warned that patients in hospital should not be rushed to him, especially those in critical condition.

On Sunday, government officials in Arusha were not categorical on how they would implement the directive amid reports thousands of people were stranded in the town awaiting transport to Loliondo.

The Rev Mwasapile wanted each vehicle or helicopter to be surcharged Sh5,000 and Sh150,000 respectively by the Ngorongoro District Council.

He also proposed the upgrading of the road leading to the area, construction of toilets and proper management of the long queues.

“We don’t have any statement to make. We concur with what Rev Mwasapile had suggested and we will ensure there is an orderly transiting to him,” Arusha regional commissioner Isidore Shirima said.

Reporters on the ground said on Sunday people were still flooding the village for the “miracle” cure.

Reports about the Rev Mwasapile first trickled into Arusha in September last year, initially as an HIV/Aids cure but were largely ignored as country was in the peak of election campaigns.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/africa/Tanzania+halts+miracle+cure+after+52+die+/-/1066/1134224/-/yryr6i/-/index.html

Posted in Africa | 2 Comments »

Kenyan family, sick boys get immigration reprieve

Posted by Administrator on March 27, 2011

PORTLAND — US Citizenship and Immigration Services officials have decided to allow a Kenyan family and its two sick boys to stay longer in Portland to receive medical treatment.

The news came with great relief to 17-year-old Aamir Khandwalla.

He and his younger brother, Hanzallah, each stand barely three feet tall, suffering from a rare growth-stunting disease called Desbuquois Syndrome. “I slept very well last night,” said Aamir Khandwalla.

Before the good news came, family and friends were in distress, demonstrating with picket signs at Pioneer Courthouse Square as the Government had given the Khandwalla’s until the end of the month to go back to their native Kenya.

Background: Feds may force ailing Portland children back to Kenya

That would’ve ended the boys’ on-going treatment, provided at no cost by Shriner’s hospital.

“It’s great immigration let us stay here,” said Hanzallah who can now re-focus his attention on three major physical problems. “My leg, my back, my heart.”

And his father doesn’t have to worry about leaving their Portland home of eight years in a panic.

“At the bottom of our heart we had accepted that people are very sympathetic and hopefully it’s going to work,” said the father, Muhammed Khandwalla, after their plight started to draw national attention last week.

But it’s not a permanent solution.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services tells NewsChannel 8, “We have continued to review this case and, after careful consideration of the facts, have determined to again extend relief to the family so that the children can access medical care in this country for a longer period of time,” according to Chris Bentley, a department Press Secretary.

“Just see what happens next,” said Aamir who figures he has a year of treatment before worrying about immigration issues again.

His father, for now, had an important weight lifted. “At least I’ll be able to work and support the family,” said Muhammed Khandwalla.

The family said doctors have told them only 50 people in the world suffer from the rare disease.

Muhammed said he simply couldn’t find proper treatment for his sons in Kenya. That’s why he moved to Portland. Shriner’s Hospital has offered to pay their medical bills until each boy turns 21-year-old.

Source: http://www.kgw.com/news/local/Kenyan-family-sick-boys-get-immigration-reprieve-118747074.html

Posted in Diaspora News | 2 Comments »

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