The Government of Kenya is emphasizing the need for comprehensive and adaptable solutions to address the ongoing influx of displaced people in the country, focusing on displacement and identity issues. Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi stresses that these solutions should take into account both refugees and host communities, moving away from camps and towards integrated settlements as part of the Shirika Plan.
Mudavadi notes that Kenya has supported more than 80,000 refugees and asylum-seekers in returning to their home countries to rebuild their lives and nations. The Shirika Plan encompasses various sectors, including education, water, sanitation, health, livelihoods, social protection, and more, all guided by a robust legal framework to benefit refugees.
As of the end of August, Kenya hosted a total of 644,011 refugees and asylum-seekers, with 83 percent being refugees and 17 percent asylum-seekers. The recent increase is attributed to displacements caused by drought. The Dadaab complex currently houses 364,401 people, with many waiting for registration under the Department of Refugee Services.
Mudavadi emphasizes that each statistic represents a human story of resilience, hope, and aspiration, highlighting the determination of individuals in their migration journeys. He delivered these remarks during the 74th session of the Executive Committee of High Commissioners (EXCOM) in Geneva, Switzerland.
Despite the challenges, Mudavadi mentions that the Refugee Act No. 10 of 2021 includes transformative changes aligned with the Global Compact for Refugees, localized in Kenya through the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework. The Act safeguards the rights of refugees, asylum-seekers, and host communities. The Refugee Regulations 2023 will operationalize the Refugee Act of 2021, the CRRF, and other government policies, centralizing refugee data in the Integrated Population Registration Services Master database.
Mudavadi also highlights the government’s efforts to ensure access to education services for refugees through the Refugee Education Policy and improved infrastructure in refugee camps. The government is promoting Kakuma and Dadaab towns to full municipality status to enhance access to government services for both refugees and Kenyan host communities.
However, Mudavadi acknowledges that ongoing conflicts and security issues in neighboring nations continue to drive refugee inflows and protracted refugee situations, causing uncertainty among refugees and asylum-seekers. He also points out the absence of a comprehensive national policy on refugee management in Kenya and the lack of a database, which hampers government oversight and limits refugees’ access to essential services.