The United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights of Internally Displaced Persons, Chaloka Beyani, called for concerted efforts by government and other actors to achieve durable solutions for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Kenya. He called for the speedy and effective implementation of the Internally Displaced Persons Act adding that durable solutions for the IDPS can only be informed by reality and not political expediency. The Internally Displaced Persons Act that was passed on 31 December 2012 provides for immediate profiling, participation and consultation of IDPs at all stages of displacement but has not been fully operationalised.
During a meeting with civil society organizations working with IDPs under the auspices of the Protection Working Group on Internal Displacement, the Special Rapporteur agreed with ARTICLE 19 that the implementation of the Act would go a long way to ensure information and participation rights of IDPs are recognized and respected. He also called for immediate adoption of an IDP Policy that would create an institutional and implementation framework for the Act.
“It is commendable that the government of Kenya has at last put in place legislation that addresses protection and assistance to IDPs issues. They should now show the ultimate commitment by implementing the Act and ensuring the passage of the IDPs policy. This would ensure that there is proper management of the protection and assistance programmes initiated on behalf of IDPs, and that they are consulted at every step”, said the Special Rapporteur.
During his second visit to Kenya between 27 April and 7 May 2014, the Special Rapporteur met with representatives of the national and county governments, and other civil society organizations working with IDPs in Kenya to follow up on the progress made since his last mission in September 2011.
A baseline study conducted by ARTICLE 19 East Africa in 2012 revealed that information rights of IDPs in Kenya have been one of the most neglected and this has continued to hamper equitable distribution of humanitarian assistance and stimulated corruption in the initiatives meant to assist IDPs.
“The lack of information has been one of the missing links in IDPs interventions. ARTICLE 19 should fully engage policy-makers and relevant ministries to ensure that the information rights of internally displaced persons are fully legislated, and that they can participate in solutions formulated to find durable solutions”, said the Special Rapporteur.
Furthermore, the Special Rapporteur pointed out that five obstacles continue to block efforts to find durable solutions to resettle the displaced. These are lack of secure land tenure, children out of school, no access to health services, lack of livelihood opportunities and rampant discrimination especially against displaced pastoralists.
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