|Rep. Keith Ellison Visits Minnesota-Based Center for Victims of Torture in Nairobi|
|February 22, 2013|
NAIROBI-Rep. Keith Ellison (MN-05) visited the new Nairobi project of the Center for Victims of Torture Wednesday as part of a humanitarian trip to the region. Ellison’s visit included a stop in Mogadishu, Somalia, the first visit by a Member of Congress since the United States recognized the Somali government this year. Nairobi is home to more than 53,000 refugees, 58 percent of whom are Somali, according to the UN High Commission for Regufees. Starting this year, the Minnesota-based organization began providing mental health and physical therapy to refugees in the Komarock neighborhood of Nairobi. CVT’s work in Nairobi is funded by a grant from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.
You can view photos from Rep. Ellison’s visit here.
Rep. Ellison also received an update on the Dadaab refugee complex in northeast Kenya, the world’s largest refugee site. Dadaab’s camps have more than 380,000 refugees, most of whom are Somali, in a compound built to accommodate only 90,000. Rep. Ellison visited the site in 2009.
“Many Minnesotans have family members who live in refugee camps in Kenya,” Ellison said. “The United States must work with the Kenyan government and international aid organizations to improve living conditions in Kenya’s refugee camps. We have a responsibility to protect the most vulnerable among us, especially those forced to flee their home countries because of violence, persecution or natural disasters.”
“We are very grateful Congressman Ellison and his staff visited our healing project in Nairobi and had the opportunity to hear about our work to meet the needs of torture and war trauma survivors among the urban refugees in Nairobi,” said Curt Goering, executive director of CVT. “Congressman Ellison is a loyal friend of CVT, and we deeply appreciate his ongoing commitment to refugees, to torture survivors, and to CVT’s work and mission.”
“Hosting Congressman Ellison at our healing project in Nairobi was significant for all of us who are working with the survivors of torture and war, but it was especially significant for the refugees living in Nairobi to hear from a member of the U.S. Congress and to know there are world leaders who pay attention to their suffering and are advocates for human dignity,” said Alieu Sannoh, CVT Kenya country director.
In order to improve the status of refugees, Ellison recently reintroduced the “Strengthening Refugee Resettlement Act” (H.R. 651), which would streamline and expand refugee resettlement services in the United States and abroad.