Kenya: Predicament of citizenship and the stateless

Published: 22/Oct/2016
Source: The Star (Nairobi)

By Yash Pal Ghai

The number of stateless persons in Kenya is sometimes estimated at about 100,000 people. This is undoubtedly a gross underestimate. Whole communities are declared stateless—one authority estimated that the Nubians alone amount to over 100,000. The “stateless communities” include the Nubians, the Galjeel Somali, Pemba, Waata, the Makonde and Wapemba. Their origins lie in our neighbouring countries, brought over here largely to serve the cause of imperialists and their farmers. They have been treated here atrociously. Our president and his deputy acclaim their partnerships with other African states and marshals them when it suits them—but their government shows callous disregard of them, denying them their basic rights.

Unlike the CKRC draft, the current constitution does not acknowledge, much less address, the rights of the stateless people. Nor has Kenya ratified the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on Reduction of Statelessness. However the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child has adopted the international norm that statelessness is to be avoided in the interests of the Child. Moreover, the UN High Commission for Refugees has on occasions pressed the government to register its stateless people.

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Themes: Apatridie, Naturalisation et le mariage
Regions: Kenya
Year: 2016