An independent United Nations human rights expert has urged the Kenyan Government to adopt a comprehensive strategy to tackle key challenges faced by internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country.
“There is an urgent humanitarian need to address the dire living conditions and human rights of IDPs in Kenya, including persons displaced by the 2007-2008 post-election violence, and those displaced by natural disasters and environmental conservation projects,” the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of IDPs, Chaloka Beyani, said at the end of a nine-day visit.
Kenya has experienced several waves of internal displacement in recent years, including an estimated 600,000 people that were uprooted by the violence that followed the disputed 2007 presidential elections.
Mr. Beyani said that any strategy must include the adoption of a policy and legislative framework, consistent with international and regional standards.
It must also include capacity building, including in technical aspects such as registration, profiling, and assistance and protection programme management; prevention and mitigation of internal displacement; and durable solutions.
He commended the Government’s commitment to the issue and the steps taken so far, including the development of a draft IDP policy and the return and resettlement of some people uprooted by the post-election violence.
At the same time, he called on the Kenyan authorities to adopt the draft IDP policy and to ratify the African Union Convention on Protection and Assistance to IDPs, also known as the Kampala Convention, among other measures.
“In the course of this visit, I also found that the lack of accurate and efficient systems of registration and disaggregated data collection were key concerns directly affecting the assistance, protection and durable solutions for IDPs,” Mr. Beyani stated.
He urged the authorities to join forces with the international community and civil society to collect more reliable information, paying particular attention to vulnerable groups, including children who may have resorted to living on the streets due to internal displacement.
The expert, who reports in an independent and unpaid capacity to the UN Human Rights Council, also stressed that the choice of durable solutions by IDPs should be “informed, voluntary and safe, and include the necessary assistance to rebuild their lives.”
His full report on the Kenya visit will be presented to the Geneva-based Council next March.