After initially declining assent on the grounds that it may compel the State to provide housing and social amenities to refugees and asylum seekers, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has signed the Refugee Bill of 2019 into law.
The Bill seeks to mandate the ministry of Interior and counties to provide temporary housing centres for asylum seekers and refugees.
Kenyatta signed the Refugee Bill into law on Wednesday after the National Assembly amended the controversial section in the document.
State House had initially rejected assent to the Bill arguing that it did not put into consideration, critical infrastructures such as police stations and prisons which would be used as special transit centres by refugees.
Kenyatta rejected the provision saying that it excluded detention centres like prisons, police stations, immigration centres and remand homes that are under the law used as holding grounds for refugees and asylum seekers.
Kenya has finalised plans to shut down camps holding over 400, 000 refugees by June next year, citing the facilities’ links to terrorism and smuggling of small-arms. These camps are Kakuma in Turkana and Dadaab in Garissa counties.
The Bill was returned to the National Assembly Committee on National Security and Administration in September to include the changes. President Kenyatta also signed the Foreign Service Bill and the Law of Succession (Amendment) Bill into law.
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