Advocating for the rights of stateless persons in Kenya

The Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) works to secure human rights-centred governance at all levels in the country. Since 2019 it has worked to challenge the implementation of a new national identity card and population registry scheme, commonly known as the Huduma Namba.  KHRC, together with the Nubian Rights Forum, challenged the scheme in court and in 2020 the High Court found that the scheme lacked an appropriate regulatory framework to ensure compliance with constitutional requirements. Specifically, there had been a lack of prior consultation, and there was a risk of privacy violations, identity fraud, and of deepening exclusion of those people who do not possess the required documentation, particularly stateless persons. Its concerns compelled the government to alter the data collection form to include ‘stateless persons’ and add an amendment that constitutes an official recognition of statelessness. On 11 June 2021 the organisations issued an open letter to express concern that the government was moving ahead with the scheme despite delays in implementing the court’s judgement. 

In further support for stateless communities, the KHRC successfully advocated for Shona people, who came originally from Zimbabwe, to receive adult birth registration certificates. These were their first-ever official documentation and an important step toward ending their statelessness. As of December 2020, KHRC had submitted 1,730 citizenship applications on their behalf. 

KHRC has also worked with the Ndula Resource Centre (NRC) to campaign for justice for communities and workers who claim their human rights have been undermined by Kakuzi, a Kenyan agricultural cultivation and manufacture company and subsidiary of the UK company, Camellia PLC. Their claims related to allegations of sexual and gender-based violence, labour rights violations and the dispossession of more than thirteen communities. As a result of their efforts, they have secured one billion Kenyan shillings as compensation for claimants, required Kazuki to open all public roads and surrender all public amenities to the national and county government, and established mechanisms and policies for grievances. 


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