Nairobi: Proposed bill seeks to restrict entry into refugee camps

20165176359904417964483591319785People who enter refugee camps without permission and address more than five refugees risk a Sh200,000 fine or five years in jail, or both. A bill to repeal The Refugee Act 2006, sponsored by Ndhiwa MP Agostino Neto (pictured), may have been driven by the government’s stand that terrorists are sneaking into the camps to plan attacks. The bill demands thorough vetting of individuals. Allegations of attacks being planned from refugee camps, especially Dadaab in northern Kenya, have compelled the government to repatriate all its occupants and shut it by the end of November. Dadaab is near the Somalia border, hosting more than 300,000 refugees.

“No person other than the competent authority, an authorised officer or the settlement officer, may, in a designated area, address an assembly or meeting of more than five asylum seekers or refugees,” reads Neto’s bill. The bill requires the government to put in place well-structured systems of administration in hosting refugees right from their adoption to voluntary repatriation, unlike the previous Act. For instance, there are established authorised entry points for refugees into Kenya under refugee reception officers who thoroughly vet asylum seekers. The officers will be working closely with the National Eligibility Committee headed by commissioner for refugee affairs and other offices concerned with refugees. Neto’s bill proposes a Kenya Refugees’ Trust Fund, created and supervised by at most eight trustees and chaired by the commissioner for refugees.

Source: The Star

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