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Kenya plans to have new refugee law early 2015

23 October 2014, 09:20

Nairobi - Kenya plans to have a new refugee law by the end of February 2015, a government official said on Wednesday.

Patrick Musango, Chief Refugee Management Officer of the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, told a refugee forum in Nairobi that the new law is meant to beef up security by putting in place mechanisms to screen refugees.

"The new law will replace the Refugees Act of 2006 which was unable to address some of the current challenges such as terrorism, " Musango said during a conference on asylum policy in Kenya.

Also read: Over 50 000 refugees reside in Nairobi

He said that stakeholders are currently reviewing the draft bill, before it is tabled in parliament.

The government official said that Kenya is also putting in place a national asylum policy which will provide input to the proposed refugee law. "Our aim is to have it in place by the end of the year," he added.

The Chief Refugee Management Officer noted that the new law includes a provision to allow refugees to live in urban areas. "However, they need to have special reasons such as attending school or for health reasons," he said.

Under the proposed law, refugees will be required to report to immigration officer within 14 days of entering Kenya. The current law has set a period of 30 days.

Musango said the new law will introduce traceability of refugee movements through collection of biometric data.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Spokesman for Kenya Emmanuel Nyabera said there are currently 520,000 refugees in Kenya, down from 600,000 last year.

 - Xinhua

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