Human rights groups are warning that Kenya’s controversial Security Amendment Act still poses a threat to refugees’ rights despite a high court decision on Friday that suspends parts of the bill for 30 days pending a full court hearing.
The suspension included a section of the wide-ranging bill, popularly known as the ‘anti-terror’ law, that amended Kenya’s Refugees Act. The amendment stipulates that, “the number of refugees and asylum seekers permitted to stay in Kenya shall not exceed 150,000.”
Currently there are over 600,000 refugees, asylum seekers and stateless people living in Kenya, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
Although the cap of 150,000 can be reset by the National Assembly, rights groups fear that the new amendment will result in large numbers of refugees being forcibly returned. This would amount to refoulement, a serious contravention of international refugee law.