Between vulnerability and assertiveness: negotiating resettlement in Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya

Jansen, B.J.


Resettlement to third countries is regarded as a durable solution to refugee crises. In Kakuma refugee camp in north-west Kenya, seeking a better life in industrialized countries has become a preoccupation for many refugees. In this article the effects of the practice of third country resettlement on the camp population are explored. Increased ease of communication with the diaspora, expanded knowledge of entitlements, and the high visibility of resettlement processing within the camp have increased the demand for resettlement. The article argues that the result is an environment that encourages refugees to cheat through claiming insecurity and negotiating vulnerability. Refugees come to believe that resettlement is something that can be actively achieved, rather than a benefit extended only to the genuinely vulnerable.