All you need to know about refugee bill

The refugee bill 2019 is an act of parliament that is meant to provide for the recognition, protection and management of refugees, it also to give effect to the 1951 United Nations Conventions Relating to the status of Refugees, the 1967 protocol Relating to the status of refugees and the 1969 OAU convention Governing the specific aspects of Refugees problems in Africa for connected purposes.

This act shall be cited as refugee act 2019 and will come into operations upon the expiry of ninety days from the date of publication.

The bill several explanations as who can be refugees, this includes being outside of his or her country of nationality owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality membership of a particular opinion who is in Kenya and is unable or owing to such fear is unwilling to avail himself or herself for protection of his or her country of nationality.

The bill states that a person shall cease to be are refugee if such a person voluntarily re-avails himself or herself of the protection of the country of nationality.

when one re-acquires lost nationality he or she ceases to be a refugee as well when one can no longer because of circumstances in connection with which he or she was recognized  as refugee ceases to exist and refuse to avail himself of the protection of the country of nationality.

According to the bill there shall a commissioner for refugee affairs whose office shall be in the public service, its functions includes convene and chair Refugee advisory committee, receive , register, and maintain a register for all refugees in Kenya, receive and process applications for refugee status.

The refugee’s affairs also coordinate all measures necessary for promoting the welfare and protection of refugees and asylum seekers and advise the Cabinet Secretary and the committee.

They also suppose to be in liaison with the police, arrest any person suspected of committing an offence under this act. in consultation with the Cabinet Secretary,

They are also mandated to establish structures and mechanisms for management of refugee humanitarian emergencies.

The will also initiate collaboration with the development partners, projects that promote peaceful and harmonious co-existence between the host communities and refugees.

The bill establishes Refugee Status Appeals Committee which shall be the successor to the Appeal Board established under section 10 of the Refugees Act,2006.

The Cabinet secretary shall, by notice in the Gazette appoint the following persons to serve in the

Appeals Committee a representative of the Principal secretary responsible for refugee matters who shall be the chairperson of the Committee, a representative of the Kenya National Commission for Human Rights, a representative of the State Department responsible for immigration, one person nominated by the Attorney General and(e) three other persons with knowledge and experience in refugee matters.

The quorum, the bill states for a meeting of the Appeal Board shall be three members.

Application for refugee status

The bill states that an application for the grant of refugee status shall be made to the commissioner either directly or through an authorized officer.

It’s says an authorized officer to whom any asylum seeker presents himself or herself shall refer that asylum seeker to the relevant authority.

The decision of the commissioner to grant or not to grant the applications shall be notified to the applicant in writing and where the application is refused, the commissioner shall give reasons.

The eligibility panel shall upon review forward to the commissioner recommendations to grant or not to grant status on a case by cases bases.

RECEPTION FOR REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKERS

The bill states that any person entering Kenya to seek asylum shall make his or her intention known immediately upon entry or within thirty days by reporting to the nearest reception centre or the nearest government administrative office.

The Commissioner shall ensure availability of reception officers at designated entry points provided that where there are no designate reception officers, the immigration officers or other government officers stationed at the entry points shall act as reception officers.

If the reception officer who comes into contact with an asylum seeker is not an officer from the Department, the officer shall liaise with the Department for the necessary assistance or guidance.

The bill states that Subject to subsection (2) asylum seekers may be temporarily accommodated at the reception holding areas as they wait further processing by the Department.

Asylum seekers who enter the country through places, other than gazetted entry points, shall immediately report to the nearest government administrative office.

RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF REFUGEES ND ASYLUM SEEKERS

According to refugee bill every refugee and every asylum seeker within Kenya shall be entitled to the rights and be subject to the duties contained in the UN Convention, its Protocol and the OAU Convention; and all the laws in force in Kenya.

The Cabinet Secretary may, by notice in the Gazette and in consultation with the relevant county governments, designate specific counties to host refugees.

The Cabinet Secretary may, by notice in the Gazette, designate places and areas in Kenya to be transit centres for purposes of temporarily accommodating refugees.

Refugees shall be enabled to contribute to the economic and social development of Kenya by facilitating access to, and issuance of, the required documentation at both levels of Government.

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How i was assisted to get birth certificates

My name is Hussein Mohamed I was born 40 years ago and lived in Garissa town all my life, I’m currently a tuk tuk driver operating within central business district for the last five years. While I own citizenship documents including Identity Card and Birth Certificate which I got with so many difficulties, I have been on constantly worried about my four children and how they can acquire these important documents. My agonizing issue was also the introduction of the National Education Management Information System (NEMIS) which required that every child should be enrolled in school with birth certificate; I feared that my four children will be left out in the process. I came to learn how Haki na Sheria with collaborations with civil registration officers have been helping people acquire birth certificates and also make follow up to speed up the issuance of the same, this is because there was high demand of the documents. I decide to inquire if I can also be assisted in getting the crucial documents for my children at their offices. After discussions on how I can get the document for my children I was required to get all necessary documents needed to register for the registration of birth certificates. I came next day to the office with all what was needed where I was assisted by Abdinasir to file in the forms, one of the paralegal who helped on what steps should be taken and why I should avoid involving anyone else other than government officials conducting the registration process. I was then accompanied to the registration offices where my documents was filed without any much difficulties where I was then to go home and be coming to the office to confirm if they are ready. Surprisingly, the certificates were ready for collection after my first visit to the office two weeks after filing the documents. its always better to have such kind of offices in our midst to be bridging the gap between members of the public and government official offering services such as birth certificates and Identity documents which has also been most difficult

Garissa civil registration officer Mr Patrick Ngutia during the issuance of birth certificates in Bula Sambul in Garissa

to acquire.

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