Protecting refugees: a critical analysis of the Kenya refugee act, 2006
Anjichi, Truphosa Atero
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The situation of refugees is one of the most pressing and urgent problem facing the international community today.' The legal instruments, on which refugees can rely to secure international protection globally, are the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol). At a regional level, the 1969 OAD Convention embodies the unique circumstances of refugee movements in Africa. The study has examined the concept of international protection tracing 'it through a historical perspective that informed modem day refugee law and practises. In discussing the historical evolution of international refuge protection, the study observed that the codification of the 1951 Convention and the development of the principles of refugee law, such as the principle of non-refoulement, were informed by theunique circumstances that prevailed at a given place and time during both World Wars I and II. Under International law states are obligated to enact national legislation to reflect their commitments at the international level. In reviewing the Kenya Refugee Act, 2006, the study commended Kenya's efforts in developing a refugee specific legislation that largely conforms to the international benchmarks for refugee protection as stipulated in the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, and the 1969 OAD Convention. The study identified some of the immediate needs of the Department of Refugee Affairs as being capacity building, with a focus on human resources development, development of implementations strategies and national policy on refugees, and drafting of necessary regulations and guidelines to guide the entire process. Time is indeed of the essence, if the gains of the Act are to be made useful to refugees and other stakeholders at large.