Press release

Kenya: Internally Displaced Persons Bill 2012 tabled in Kenyan Parliament

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ARTICLE 19

14 Jun 2012

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ARTICLE 19 welcomes the tabling of a proposed law on Internal Displacement for discussion in the Kenyan parliament and calls for its swift adoption by the Parliament, at a time when Kenya is heading into another election period. 

The Internally Displaced Persons Bill 2012, tabled by the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Resettlement, Hon Ekwee Ethuro on 13th June 2012, was developed under the leadership of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Resettlement. It was reviewed for consistency with relevant instruments and standards during a meeting of all major stakeholders including ARTICLE 19, UNHCR, the Refugee Consortium of Kenya (RCK), the Kenya National Human Rights Commission (KNHCR) and the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) in Mombasa in November 2011. The Bill gives effect to the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, and the Great Lakes protocol on the Protection and Assistance of IDPs.

“The publication of the Bill reflects the good intention of the Kenyan government to alleviate the suffering and provide robust solutions for IDPs in the long run. The government must now go further in laying a proper legislative and institutional framework by adopting the draft national IDP Policy which is comprehensive in addressing all phases of internal displacement and ensuring the ratification of the Kampala Convention,” said Henry Maina, the Director of Article 19,Eastern Africa.

To be enacted into law, the Bill will be debated and passed by Parliament before being presented to the President for signature and assent into law. Lobbying initiatives by civil society groups and major stakeholders are therefore still imperative to ensure that Parliament prioritises discussion of this crucial legislation before dissolution of the House due to the election period.

ARTICLE 19 recommends that these advocacy efforts should also focus on the adoption of the draft National IDP policy and the ratification of the Kampala convention. Developed alongside the IDP Bill, the draft national IDP Policy unveiled in March 2010 is comprehensive in its scope.  It covers all protection aspects and phases of internal displacement and remains pending before the cabinet. Kenya was also one of the countries that was active in the drafting of the Kampala Convention, an instrument that was considered a milestone for the African region in dealing with the issues of internal displacement. However, Kenya remains one of 35 countries to have signed but not ratified the convention. It is believed that the adoption of these two instruments will support the implementation of the provisions of the IDP Bill and ensure IDP issues are tackled comprehensively.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

  • For more information, please contact Sandra Musoga, Senior Programmes Officer, Right to Information for ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa, at Sandra@article19.org or +254 20 386 2230/2.
  • ARTICLE 19 is an independent human rights organisation that works around the world to protect and promote the right to freedom of expression. It takes its name from Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees free speech.