The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, applauds the actions the Government of Kenya is doing to address the Pemba people’s ongoing statelessness issue in Kenya.
On December 12, as the nation celebrated its 59th Jamhuri Day, President Ruto of Kenya stated that the government would begin the process of recognizing the Pemba people as citizens of Kenya.
“Kenya has once again shown leadership in the effort to eradicate statelessness worldwide. The Pemba people will be granted the rights they are due as a result of this judgement. UNHCR is prepared to assist the process, according to Caroline van Buren, the organization’s representative in Kenya.
The Pemba will be able to participate fully in Kenyan society and have equal access to their basic human rights after being registered and given individual citizenship paperwork. This includes having access to formal employment, financial services, healthcare, social security, and education.
In order to ensure that populations of stateless people are registered as Kenyans and have quick access to papers including birth certificates, registration certificates, and national IDs, UNHCR will continue to offer technical and operational support to the government.
By recognizing as citizens thousands of more formerly stateless people, including those from the Makonde and Shona communities and others of Indian origin, Kenya has recently made significant progress in its attempts to end statelessness.
The Kenyan government’s determination to keep its promises made at the High-Level Segment on Statelessness in October 2019 is strengthened by this most recent decision. UNHCR encourages Kenya to carry out the remaining commitments, such as joining the two UN conventions on statelessness and implementing legal changes to end statelessness in Kenya.
In order to establish a legal framework for the registration of stateless individuals and to broaden the purview of the Taskforce on Statelessness, significant changes are also required to the Kenyan Citizenship and Immigration Act. The procedures for identifying and registering stateless people who qualify for Kenyan citizenship will be governed by the Taskforce.
According to the objectives of the #IBelong Campaign to end statelessness by 2024, UNHCR remains committed to collaborating with and supporting the Government of Kenya and other nations to further identify, prevent, and address statelessness.