Kenya: Press Statement Released by the Nubian Rights Forum regarding the challenges of risk of statelessness of the community
Source: Nubian Rights Forum (Kenya)
Over fifty years since Kenya attained independence, the Nubian Community is still fighting for recognition as citizens in their country. There are multiple challenges the community faces for being treated as an alien while in their own country. Accessing fundamental identification documents in the country has been a primary challenge and there have been a trickle of consequential occurrences as a result. We are therefore, calling on his Excellency, President Kenyatta to use his executive powers to award the Nubian Community the recognition they deserve as citizens.
LACK OF ACCESS TO IDENTIFICATION CARDS
The COVID-19 Pandemic has led to stopping of most governmental processes that involve offering services to citizens including the vetting process of the Nubian Community. Following the measures put in place by the Kenyan Government are unable to apply for National Identity cards. Currently, there is a slow resumption of services, and Kenyans can apply for their ID cards but the Nubian community cannot apply because there are no measures set in place concerning the vetting process within the COVID-19 safety guidelines. ‘There is no vetting process taking place for the Nubian Community.’ While the government is working on requirements to begin the vetting process, it is paramount that they speed up the process to allow the process to resume immediately. The delays in commencement of the process means there is a risk of a majority not receiving their ID cards in time.
Living in Kenya without an Identification card, is as good as a death sentence. For a community that is already threatened by what is justified as ‘unique characteristics’ there is an increase in the risk factors involved. The challenges that affect the community would be reduced if the community members were awarded recognition as Kenyans. The Nubian community are Kenyans, and it should not be a privilege for a chosen few, that costs them their right to citizenship.
CHALLENGES OF THE DELAYED VETTING PROCESS
YOUTH AND EDUCATION
According to Art.43 every person has the right to education. Kenyans have a right to access free basic education. However, when it comes to tertiary education, including TVETs and universities, youth in the Nubian community are disadvantaged. A majority of the Nubian community depend on scholarships and financial aid such as HELB to advance their education. For all governmental transactions, it is mandatory for a person to have an identification card. Youth from the community seeking to further their education have limited access to such opportunities because of lack of identification cards.
Youth unemployment in the community is on the rise because of lack of identification cards. Currently, there is an on-going initiative by the Kenyan Government dubbed ‘Kazi mtaani’ that sees youth earn a living from the government by cleaning the community. During the recruitment process, it was mandatory for youth to present their identification cards. A lot of youth missed opportunities to work on the ‘Kazi Mtaani’ project due to lack of identification cards. This is just one example of the opportunities that our youth miss out on because of lack of identification cards.
Lack of education and Youth unemployment is one of the leading reasons of increase in crime in the community. When youth are frustrated due to lack of opportunities and no means of providing for families, they resort to alternative, criminal means of earning a living. It is painful and unfair to lose children to crime over circumstances that can be solved with an access to identification cards.
Following our plea, we as a community drafted a letter (herein attached) to C.S interior Matiang’i and Director Kimotho concerning our plea for a resumption of the vetting process for the community members to access identification cards. We implore all duty bearers within the government to treat matters of citizenship with the urgency they deserve.
As per Article 27 of the constitution: The state shall not discriminate directly or indirectly against any person on any ground… including ethnic or social origin
Chairperson- Nubian Rights Forum