Kenya: Comments on the draft Citizenship and Immigration Bill, 2011 by CRAI
17 May 2011
The Citizenship Rights in Africa Initiative, of which the Open Society Justice Initiative is a founder member, submitted these comments to the drafting committee for the Kenyan Citizenship and Immigration Bill, 2011.
In general, CRAI recognises that the draft bill contains many provisions that are a substantial improvement on the existing 1963 Citizenship Act. However, the submission notes serious outstanding concerns, in particular that protections against statelessness in the draft bill are very weak. In particular:
CRAI urges that all these provisions and others noted in the submission should be reviewed and amended where needed.
- Kenya has an obligation under the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (Article 6(4)) to grant citizenship to children born on the territory who would otherwise be stateless. This is not included in the draft bill.
- The draft bill specifically excludes refugees and asylum seekers from the right to apply for registration as a citizen, in contravention of international human rights law.
- The sections of the draft bill providing for registration of "other persons who may be granted citizenship” or stateless persons are highly restrictive and appear designed to place barriers in the way of, rather than to facilitate, the acquisition of citizenship by such persons.
Materials available for download:
Comments on the draft Citizenship and Immigration Bill, 2011 -