President Uhuru Kenyatta has declined to give refugees mandatory housing and social amenities at a special transit center.
This is after he rejected to sign into law a bill that would compel the State to provide the requirements, noting that the bill did not consider critical infrastructures such as police stations and prisons.
The Refugee Bill, 2019 was seeking to compel the Interior Ministry and the county governments to provide transit centers, the temporary housing centers, for refugees and those seeking asylum but did not mention detentions centers.
President Uhuru rejected the Bill noting that it omitted detention centers such as immigration centers, remands, police stations, and prisons that are with the law used as holding grounds for asylum seekers and refugees.
“The president notes that the effect of the omission of the proposed definition is in conflict with section 4 and 12(3) (g) of the Persons Deprived of Liberty Act of 2014 which provides that detention facilities may be used as holding centers for refugees and asylum seekers,” President Uhuru said in a statement to the National Assembly.
The president’s rejection of the Bill comes at the time Kenya is planning to close two refugee camps holding over 400,00 refugees, claiming that the camps are being used for terrorism and smuggling of small arms.
Kenya has informed the United Nation of its plans to shut down camps, Kakuma and Dadaab camps, citing national security concerns over infiltration by Al Shabaab militants and proliferation of small arms from war-prone countries including Somalia, Ethiopia, and South Sudan.