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IRREGULAR 
MIGRATION IN 
KENYA 
Dr. Linda A. Oucho 
International Migration in Africa 
Conference 
Scalabrini Institute of...
CONTENTS 
Purpose 
Background of irregular migration in Kenya 
Who are the irregular migrants 
Mode of Entry 
Migrati...
PURPOSE 
The purpose of this presentation is to: 
• provide an overview of irregular migration in Kenya; 
• outline the cu...
BACKGROUND: 
IRREGULAR MIGRATION IN KENYA 
 Irregular migration (clandestine/ illegal/undocumented migrant or migrant in ...
WHERE ARE IRREGULAR MIGRANT'S FROM? 
 South Sudan/ Sudan: Civil conflict in the country led to influx of migrants (asylum...
WHERE ARE IRREGULAR MIGRANT'S FROM? 
 Eritreans 
 The negative economic, political conditions in the country have led ma...
(ICMPD, 
2008:46) 
Map of Kenya 
AFRICAN MIGRATION AND DEVELOPMENT 
POLICY CENTRE 7
MODE OF ENTRY 
 Air 
 Those transiting Kenya bound for other destinations in the Middle East, Southern Africa or 
Europe...
CURRENT MIGRATION RELATED 
POLICIES  The Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act No. 12 (2011), 
 addresses all matters of...
HOW PRACTICAL ARE THE POLICIES? 
 Legal guidelines are available on migration in general, but there is lack of 
understan...
CHALLENGES MANAGING IRREGULAR 
MIGRATION IN KENYA 
Human rights abuses of irregular migrants have been reported 
by agenc...
THE MEDIA AND IRREGULAR 
MIGRATION 
 International Media Headlines 
 ‘Kenya: Over 600 Arrested in Illegal Immigrants Swo...
THE MEDIA AND IRREGULAR 
MIGRATION 
 Media has the power to influence ideas, thoughts and 
perceptions and the local medi...
WHAT CAN BE DONE? 
 Need to do research/ baseline study (e.g. survey) to be able to get an idea of 
the problem before co...
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ICMA 2014_Panel 3_Linda Oucho

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The International Conference on Migration in Africa (ICMA) hosted by the Scalabrini Institute for Human Mobility in Africa (SIHMA) and the Institute for Social Development at UWC, on 3 December 2014 brought together local, African and international scholars, academics, researchers, practitioners, professionals, policy makers and NGO representatives and funding bodies to discuss issues relating to human mobility in Africa. The topics included south-south migration, the nexus between migration and development, irregular migration and reintegration of returnee migrants.

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ICMA 2014_Panel 3_Linda Oucho

  1. 1. IRREGULAR MIGRATION IN KENYA Dr. Linda A. Oucho International Migration in Africa Conference Scalabrini Institute of Human Mobility in Africa (SIHMA) 3 December 2014 AFRICAN MIGRATION AND DEVELOPMENT POLICY CENTRE 1
  2. 2. CONTENTS Purpose Background of irregular migration in Kenya Who are the irregular migrants Mode of Entry Migration Policies Challenges of Policy and Practice Media and Irregular Migration What can be done? AFRICAN MIGRATION AND DEVELOPMENT POLICY CENTRE 2
  3. 3. PURPOSE The purpose of this presentation is to: • provide an overview of irregular migration in Kenya; • outline the current policies and practices that have been developed by the government to handle irregular migration; • explores the effectiveness as well as efficiency of the policies in managing irregular migration in Kenya; and • Discuss how the media has represented irregular migration in Kenya. AFRICAN MIGRATION AND DEVELOPMENT POLICY CENTRE 3
  4. 4. BACKGROUND: IRREGULAR MIGRATION IN KENYA  Irregular migration (clandestine/ illegal/undocumented migrant or migrant in an irregular situation) refers to someone who, owing to illegal entry; expiry of his or her visa; lacks legal status in a transit or host country; Infringe a country’s admission rules; and any other person not authorized to remain in the host country (RMMS, 2013:6). Also includes smuggled, trafficked persons and rejected asylum seekers (Opiyo, 2014);  Irregular migration  response to some of the events taking place in neighbouring countries and beyond. Some people choose to move because the conditions in their country are not conducive to them or do not meet their expected standards. (e.g. to access goods, services, needs and/or lifestyles that are otherwise unavailable in their country of origin);  Those that have the resources have an opportunity to migrate legally whereas those that lack the resources use other means (e.g. smuggling , which may result to trafficking; or moving to a country and operate as an irregular migrant). Smugglers take advantage of the corrupt environment to meet the needs of its clientele. AFRICAN MIGRATION AND DEVELOPMENT POLICY CENTRE 4
  5. 5. WHERE ARE IRREGULAR MIGRANT'S FROM?  South Sudan/ Sudan: Civil conflict in the country led to influx of migrants (asylum seekers/ refugees and irregular migrants);  Democratic Republic of Congo  Conflict in DRC in the past and recently has led to a surge of irregular migrants from Congo via Uganda. There are some reports indicating that the number of Congolese is high but the few that have been reported have been refugees/ asylum seekers. Others are living under the radar  Ethiopia  Negative conditions in the country (e.g. poverty) pushed some nationals to migrate to Kenya either on transit or as the destination. Most are smuggled or trafficked. Kenya and Ethiopia have signed a bilateral agreement that allows visa-free migration  Somalia  Environmental/climate change affect pastoralists are the border between Somalia and Kenya;  Conflict and Civil War in the country led to a large number of people fleeing the insecurity in the country. Those seeking refuge in Kenya end off in the Camps (Dadaab and Kakuma), but others enter Kenya without the intention of seeking refuge but with the intention of settling;  Kenya-Somali ethnic group exist in Kenya and may also include irregular Somalis. Corruption may have led many to acquire Kenyan IDs but recently there are reports that the vigilant approach used by the Kenyan government has led to Kenyan-Somalis to not receive an ID despite being citizens by birth. AFRICAN MIGRATION AND DEVELOPMENT POLICY CENTRE 5
  6. 6. WHERE ARE IRREGULAR MIGRANT'S FROM?  Eritreans  The negative economic, political conditions in the country have led many to seek opportunities outside the country. Most have used Kenya as a transit country to access other African countries but also countries in Europe.  Majority of those that go to Europe are smuggled through North Africa  East African Community (EAC Members)  Despite being members of the EAC, nationals of Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi can become irregular migrants if they do not obtain the permission to be in the country simply by crossing the border, There are reports of Ugandans been deported.  Those who are seeking employment opportunities, will need to meet the requirements for work permit holders as outlined in the Free Movement of Persons Protocol (EAC).  Non-African Nationals  Reports of Pakistani and Indian nationals residing in Kenya illegally;  Women been trafficked to Kenya to work in brothels (KMMTF)  Most access the country with the needed paper work but later on go under the radar  Reports of nationals from the West being irregular in Kenya have emerge but their nationalities are unknown.  Not known why they become irregular in Kenya  need for research AFRICAN MIGRATION AND DEVELOPMENT POLICY CENTRE 6
  7. 7. (ICMPD, 2008:46) Map of Kenya AFRICAN MIGRATION AND DEVELOPMENT POLICY CENTRE 7
  8. 8. MODE OF ENTRY  Air  Those transiting Kenya bound for other destinations in the Middle East, Southern Africa or Europe. Other migrants destined for Kenya from further countries in Africa an beyond, enter under a legal status and may breach the conditions of their by staying beyond the allowed time  Land  Porous borders which are unmanned (e.g. Moyale, Sio Port) or through borders where they enter with a legal status but do not return to their country of origin becoming irregular in Kenya. Ethiopians access Kenya through the north and porous borders usually guided by a smuggler. Kenya may not be their final destination.  Sea/ Lake  Areas in western Kenya bordering with Uganda on Lake Victoria have reported some evidence of people accessing Kenya through the Lake.  Due to lack of resources, the border officials are unable to record the number of migrants accessing Kenya through the lake. Others enter through points such as Mombasa and Lamu. AFRICAN MIGRATION AND DEVELOPMENT POLICY CENTRE 8
  9. 9. CURRENT MIGRATION RELATED POLICIES  The Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act No. 12 (2011),  addresses all matters of migration and citizenship, in line with the new Constitution and ratified international conventions. Part VI concerning immigration control outlines prohibited immigrants and inadmissible persons. The focus is on:  Human trafficking and smuggling, those that have a criminal offence (e.g. committed war crimes in country of origin, involved in human/arms smuggling/ trafficking) or intention to commit a criminal offence (e.g. terrorism), is a security threat to the country or any other state, those engaged in terrorist acts, person seeking to enter Kenya illegally;  Inadmissible migrants include family members of irregular immigrants and rejected asylum seekers; and  Outlines the laws related to removal of immigrants found to be illegally present in the country.  Kenya Citizens and Foreign Nationals Management Service (No.31, 2011)  Maintenance of national population register and administration of laws related to birth and deaths, identification, immigration, refugees. Unclear about irregular immigrants  The Counter-Trafficking in Persons Act (2010) indicates that:  ‘a victim of trafficking in persons shall not be criminally liable for any offence related to being in Kenya illegally or for any criminal act that was a direct result of being trafficked’. AFRICAN MIGRATION AND DEVELOPMENT POLICY CENTRE 9
  10. 10. HOW PRACTICAL ARE THE POLICIES?  Legal guidelines are available on migration in general, but there is lack of understanding of irregular migration and how it should be handled by the law;  Irregular migrants in Kenya linked mostly to human trafficking and smuggling (e.g. Ethiopian and Eritreans);  Lack of data and information on the scale of irregular migration in Kenya. Unconfirmed reports indicate its high;  Lack of implementation of the current laws remains a low priority to the government (ICMPD, 2008);  Lack of resources to manage irregular migration. Porous borders allow access to irregular migrants.  When law is enforced there has been some evidence of human rights abuses which may be linked to the inadequate training available for police /enforcement officers; AFRICAN MIGRATION AND DEVELOPMENT POLICY CENTRE 10
  11. 11. CHALLENGES MANAGING IRREGULAR MIGRATION IN KENYA Human rights abuses of irregular migrants have been reported by agencies such as Human Rights Watch and UNHCR of refugees that have refugee status.  Operation Usaalma Watch activity introduced in response to the insecurity in the country at the time and also after the issuing of the Government Directive for all urban refugees to return to the camps (March 2014) and. It led to…  Stop and search activities conducted by the Police and GSU requesting ID for all those stopped. Those without ID were arrested and detained at Kasarani Stadium;  The arrest of persons without the relevant paper work to be resident in Kenya; and  Reported inhuman treatment of persons at the stadium reported by Human Rights Watch and other agencies  e.g. overcrowded prison cells meant for 20 people housed almost 100 people; unsanitary prisons AFRICAN MIGRATION AND DEVELOPMENT POLICY CENTRE 11
  12. 12. THE MEDIA AND IRREGULAR MIGRATION  International Media Headlines  ‘Kenya: Over 600 Arrested in Illegal Immigrants Swoop’ April 05, 2014, All Africa,  Kenya Deports Somalis, Arrest Hundreds in Crackdown after Attacks, April 09, 2014, Voice of America  ‘Kenya Arrests Ethiopian Immigrants, Traffickers’ , March, 25  Local Media Headlines  ‘Somalia Backs Deportation of Illegal Immigrants’ , April 12, 2014, Standard Media  ‘Kenya: Halt Crackdown on Somalis’ , April 11, 2014, Human Rights Watch  ‘Kenya to deport 225 illegal immigrant’, April 17, 2014, The East African  ‘How cartel lets illegal immigrants into the country’ April, 22 2014, Daily Nation  ‘Scores arrested in Nakuru security swoop’, December 01, 2014 Standard Media AFRICAN MIGRATION AND DEVELOPMENT POLICY CENTRE 12
  13. 13. THE MEDIA AND IRREGULAR MIGRATION  Media has the power to influence ideas, thoughts and perceptions and the local media houses in Kenya gives impression that:  Irregular migration is linked to human trafficking and smuggling;  Majority of the irregular migrants that are deemed a threat are Somalis creating a sense of fear and possibly xenophobia especially after Westgate Attack and recent attack in Mandera;  The increased need to protect Kenya and its nationals from the negative impact irregular migration may have on the country (e.g. Drugs,/ arms trafficking);  Focus is on the number arrests and deportation but no indication on estimated numbers in Kenya or efforts been made by the government to determine the numbers of irregular migration in Kenya;  Reports on enforcement by police and other law enforcement officers, but no indication on policy development AFRICAN MIGRATION AND DEVELOPMENT POLICY CENTRE 13
  14. 14. WHAT CAN BE DONE?  Need to do research/ baseline study (e.g. survey) to be able to get an idea of the problem before conducting a larger scale research on the topic  Challenge: the clandestine nature of this migration makes it difficult to investigate as has high risks  Review of current migration policies to identify the policy needs. Can be done by interacting with organisations and agencies that may have engaged in this topic to be able to provide a way forward to handle this issue  A committee should be set up by the Government of Kenya with experts from agencies that will allow them to interact and engage on the best mechanism to handle irregular migration. This will also allow key representatives of ministries to also provide their input and perspective on the matter including policy development;  Need for the government to improve border management at the porous borders and provide adequate training of enforcement officers to ensure irregular migrants are handled appropriately. AFRICAN MIGRATION AND DEVELOPMENT POLICY CENTRE 14

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