Kenya: Why there is hope for minority groups

Published: 8/Apr/2021
Source: The Star (Nairobi)

By Shaban Omar

Through the international push to end statelessness, Kenya has made significant strides in recognising minority groups.

Many non-citizens born in the country can now access birth certificates, proper healthcare, education and security.

Pemba community chairman Shaame Hamisi said the devolution government has made it easier for stateless children to process birth certificates.

“May God bless President Uhuru Kenyatta and his administration for realising that we exist and deserve better in matters of health and education,” Hamisi said.

With the 100 per cent education transition, most non-citizen children have managed to learn up to Form 4 level, and some to university.

In 2016, when more than 300 Makonde people walked from Kwale to State House seeking citizenship, the government launched a task force to investigate the nationless members and compile information that might lead to the recognition of the minority groups.

The task force was formed in 2016 with the help of the Kenya Human Rights, UNHRC and other international rights organisations.

In Kwale, organisations like Kwale Human Rights Network, Haki Centre, the county assembly and some local leaders joined forces in pushing for the recognition of the stateless members.

The stateless had sought help from the rights organisations in convincing the Kenyan government to recognise them.

The task force comprised the National Registration Bureau, National Intelligence Services, the Directorate of Immigration and Registration of Persons, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics and the Department of Refugee Affairs.

Since then, the process of recognising non-citizens has been ongoing.

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Themes: Statelessness
Regions: Kenya
Year: 2021