There was a discussion on the need to move people to where they're safe, whether it is to their original regions or back to where they've been displaced from, but the issue in all cases is security," she said.
In a statement following the day's session, the Kenyan parties said that they would "assist and encourage displaced persons to go back to their homes or other areas and to have safe passage and security throughout."
The UN's top official on the human rights of IDPs, Walter KÃƒÂ¤lin, told IRIN said that basic principle for any movement of IDPs should be their own "free choice". However, he pointed out "you can only freely choose if you have different options available". It is "very common", he added, that IDPs "end up threatened from all sides and become political pawns". As well as efforts from the international community, "[national] authorities have the responsibility to create conditions that allow for such freedom to choose", he said, referring to rights and responsibilities laid out in the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.
Abbas Gullet, head of the KRCS, told IRIN that organised relocation of IDPs to their places of ethnic origin had to be considered, even though it raised political, ethical and legal issues.
"We are at a critical point ... this is an issue that needs to be seriously considered." He proposed that at least IDP women and children could go "back" voluntarily until things improved.
"We haven't said we're going to do it," Abbas said, acknowledging the dilemmas. "We don't want to be involved in any form of ethnic cleansing," he stressed. However, he argued that the IDPs themselves were asking to be moved to their areas of origin, and for those economic migrants without property, land or businesses, the relative security and opportunities for earning a living at "home" were compelling reasons to move voluntarily.
But while the IDPs' wishes should be paramount, the rule of law needed to be applied to prevent a domino effect: those returning to their ethnic homelands in need of land and livelihoods should not then forcibly displace minorities already there, said an international official working on IDP issues. He cited the example of Bosnia, where a division of the population along ethnic lines due to insecurity became a "fait accompli".
An analyst familiar with the legal issues told IRIN that "reinforcing evictions" by assisting relocations posed major ethical questions, especially where families had owned land for a generation or more outside their "homeland". Nevertheless, private citizens have been helping their ethnic kin to get out, he said, by providing cash or trucks. Unless continuous pressure is maintained to enforce IDPs' right to return to their land, a dangerous precedent would be set, where in future any group might feel able to say "well it wasn't their land 40 years ago" and make further violent land grabs. "We shouldn't go down that road," the analyst said; people are "choosing between poor options".
Lwanga said "having them [IDPs] in police stations is not right. [In the short term] maybe it's better to have them go back to their homes ... if it is voluntary".
Quotes from Officials grapple with implications of sending IDP's home.
I think that sending the internally displaced back to the areas where they have fled from is insensitive. If those areas were safe, the internally displaced, would not have fled from them. The issue is security.
How would you feel about returning to the area where you were raped, beaten and witnessed your friends and family being butchered?
I know that if I had been in that situation, I would never return to that area, and could never live alongside the perpetrators.
I think to suggest this to the victims of torture, is insensitive. I thought that the government(sigh) had set up a fund to accomodate the victims.
Healing for torture victims, or people who are traumatised can only take place if the victims are in a place of safety, and anyone who has done any work with people who are traumatised should know this. Returning the victims to the place where they were tortured can cause a secondary form of trauma, in my view.
I have not been in any of these areas, but am very clear that when I go back to Kenya, there are certain areas that will be on my no go list.
I believe what tribe you are does matter now.
I am not fooling myself that things can go back to the way they were, yet. I believe Tribal paranoia is healthy at this time.
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