Foreigners who enjoy refugee status in Kenya can now integrate into society and participate in economic and social development, according to a new law approved by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday.
The political change is in The Refugee. contain law and create the office of the refugee commissioner, whose task it is to ensure the integration of refugees into the host communities.
The law also obliges the government to facilitate access to the documents required to ensure that Refugees are legally able to act and are able to pursue economic and social activities. This is a major improvement on the repealed law, which while granting refugees access to basic rights, makes it difficult for them to integrate into local communities and largely forces them to live in camps.
To ensure that refugees are fully integrated, the new law allows social facilities such as schools and hospitals to be shared and ensures that the governments of the country and the counties consider the concerns of refugees in their sustainability and environmental plans.
By new law, a refugee was perceived as “integrated” if he became a citizen through naturalization or enjoyed a legal status that enabled effective access to basic socio-economic and civil rights.
The law also provides that the The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other international organizations address the plight of women, children and M. Pay special attention to people with disabilities.
Three new administrative bodies will be created to deal with refugee issues.
The Department of Refugees of Services will be the main administrative body.
The Refugee Advisory Board will formulate guidelines and departments will act as convening representatives of all governments. It advises the Cabinet Secretary on refugee matters and is headed by the Commissioner for Refugee Affairs.
The third institution is the Appeals Committee for Refugee Status, which hears appeals in connection with the rejection of applications for recognition of refugee status or revocation of the status.
Earlier this year, Kenya and the United Nations reached an agreement to gradually empty refugee camps and close them from June 2022.
But there are some refugees in camps like Kakuma and Dadaab, who saw the government arguing with the UN over alleged links to terrorism and smuggling.
The two sides agreed that refugees should either be integrated or repatriated to a third country or voluntarily. However, there was no clear law regulating the form of integration of refugees.
Except from the camps were those who could prove their financial ability to meet their needs outside the camps on which the residents were dependent, to cover rations from the United Nations and other partner organizations.
The repealed law gave refugees the right of access to fundamental rights. These include, among other things, the issuing of work permits for access to the labor market, opportunities to set up small businesses and self-employment, as well as access to legal status for applying for a permanent residence permit.