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¡°We Are in Between¡±: Case Studies on the Protection of Somalis Displaced to Kenya and Egypt during the 2011 and 2012 Drought


  • Vikram Kolmannskog


Natural hazard-related disasters, including those associated with climate change, displace millions of people. Those displaced across international state borders face particular challenges with regards to legal status and rights protection. This paper discusses to what extent, and how, this group of displaced people are protected, and indicates how their protection can be further strengthened. The discussion draws on case studies of Somalis displaced to Kenya and Egypt during the 2011 and 2012 drought. Appreciation of the contextual vulnerability in disasters and the multi-causality of displacement can, and should, inform the interpretation of the refugee concept(s). In Kenya, for example, all Somalis were given refugee status on a prima facie group basis due to the presence of generalised violence as well as drought in their home country. In Egypt, the decision-makers operated with a different understanding and practice, and many Somalis risked falling outside the refugee definition(s). Beyond getting a formal refugee status recognition, however, there may also be protection issues related to formal law such as restrictions on inter alia the right to work and freedom of movement, as well as issues related to operational capacity and resources such as lack of shelter and security. A series of extra-legal factors must be given due consideration both to ensure that the protection capacity of existing law is employed to its fullest and that new legal and policy developments become effective.

Suggested Citation

  • Vikram Kolmannskog, 2014. "¡°We Are in Between¡±: Case Studies on the Protection of Somalis Displaced to Kenya and Egypt during the 2011 and 2012 Drought," International Journal of Social Science Studies, Redfame publishing, vol. 2(1), pages 83-90, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:rfa:journl:v:2:y:2014:i:1:p:83-90

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Asnat Dor, 2013. "Don¡¯t Stay Out Late! Mom, I¡¯m Twenty-eight: Emerging Adults and Their Parents under One Roof," International Journal of Social Science Studies, Redfame publishing, vol. 1(1), pages 37-46, April.
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    More about this item


    refugee; Somalis; drought; climate change; law; protection; Kenya; Egypt;

    JEL classification:

    • R00 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General - - - General
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General


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