Kenya’s Policy, Response and Implication on International Refugee Law on Influx of Somali Refugees
Njau, Veronicah Muthoni
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This research investigates refugees' influence on Kenya's national security and its obligation to international law, the focus being Somali refugees. The study's objectives are to establish the link between Somalia humanitarian crisis and the influx of refugees in Kenya, assess the security implications of the influx of Somali refugees on Kenya’s sovereignty, analyze Kenya's policy response to the influx of Somali refugees, and discuss the implication of Kenya's refugee policy on her obligation in relation to international refugee law. The study adopted the theory of Subjective safety within the community as it vies refugee influx into a country as a precursor of insecurity hence different reactions from the host countries. This will help reconcile the values of international law and national security interests. The study applied an exploratory research design because of its flexibility and the ability to take advantage of unexpected factors with significant implications. The study's target population included ordinary Kenyan citizens, refugees living in Nairobi County, and officials in the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, the Judiciary, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and identified security and legal experts. The study employed both purposive and snowballing sampling techniques. Refugees, ordinary Kenyan citizens, senior government officials from the ministries of the Interior, the Judiciary, UNHCR officials, and security and legal experts were sampled purposively. Snowballing techniques were applied when accessing key informers was a challenge. The study's findings indicate that the Kenya-Somali refugee crisis presents a complex intricacy because, on the one hand, it is of humanitarian concern, while on the other, it is a security threat to Kenya and the world at large. The influx of Somali refugees into Kenya has enabled combatants and militia to access Kenya through the camps. They have further evolved into terrorist organizations presenting a danger to Kenya, the entire region, and the international community. The view of refugees as a threat to the host country's national security rather than a vulnerable population in need of protection has led to a disregard of International laws. Nation-states have employed the national security argument to refoul, confine, imprison and deny refugees their rights. Refugees, therefore, face the risk of their rights being infringed upon and mistreated by the same security agents who should be protecting them. The study recommends that the Kenyan government develop a more comprehensive program that screens and vets all refugees at the entry points. Collaboration and training of all government agencies will help in identifying the undesirable persons. Granting Kenyan citizenship to Somali refugees who have lived and others born in the camps since their establishment will enable them to enjoy the rights and freedoms guaranteed to Kenya citizens and provide employment opportunities to the youth.
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