AFRICA/KENYA - Rape and sexual violence, the problems mostly felt by women who have fled from Somalia

Dadaab (Agenzia Fides) - "According to a brief analysis carried out by the Program on Gender-based violence (GBV) in Dadaab, rape and sexual violence are the problems mostly felt by women and girls who have fled from Somalia, and continue to be, even if to a lesser extent, in the fields". This is what is said in a statement by the head of the GBV of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Dadaab, of which a copy was sent to Fides. So far there have been only 30 recorded cases of rape between January and July 2011, reports the UNHCR in Dadaab. Not all denounce the violence for fear of suffering new and worse forms of violence. For many of them, that walk towards Dadaab every day along with hundreds of people tired, weak and malnourished fleeing from famine, is an excruciating journey. Most of them bring their children tied on their backs. The most fortunate, besides their children, manage to carry a few belongings on carts pulled by donkeys from their homes in Somalia. Once they arrive in Dadaab, nearly all say they are refugees and they undergo medical checks with their children. They are assigned a tent, without doors, windows, furniture and even beds, and a basic kit for the home. Despite everything, it is still a place they can call home. Some were born here in 1991, when the camp was set up for the first time, and have never had any other shelter. Even after getting used to the environment, women do not speak of the violence they went through during the journey. Moreover, if the violence seems to be less frequent in the camps, some women do not feel safe, and profess to be afraid at night while sleeping in their makeshift shelters. Some continue to suffer violence from their partners. The greatest risk in the camp is when they are forced to move away in search of firewood. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 24/10/2011)

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