Refugee Rights News




High Court Strikes Down Cap on the Number of Refugees in Kenya; Other Damaging Provisions Remain

Posted on February 26, 2015 by

On 23 February 2015, Kenya’s High Court struck down a controversial provision in the newly passed Security Laws (Amendment) Act 2014 (“the Security Act”) which limited the number of asylum seekers and refugees in Kenya to 150,000 persons. Other provisions that are still in place, however, threaten to restrict the rights of refugees by tightening up restrictions on refugee freedom of movement and by narrowing the time limit for asylum seekers to submit requests for refugee status.


Kenya is the second largest refugee-hosting country in Africa, providing shelter to almost 600,000 officially registered refugees, mostly from Somalia (462,970) and South Sudan (97,780) (UNHCR). However, in recent years Kenya has become a rather unwelcoming host for many of these guests. In the light of increased attacks conducted by the Somalia-based militant group al-Shabaab inside Kenya, refugees – in particular Somali refugees – have repeatedly become the target of harsh discrimination, often in violation of international law.

Read the full blog.

IRRI Rights in Exile Newsletter
February 2015

a monthly forum for news and discussion on refugee legal aid


Boundaries of civility transgressed? Studying practices of humanitarian government, difference, and power in Kakuma Refugee Camp

Reflection on the Tripartite Agreement on Voluntary Repatriation of Somali Refugees


Refugee Law Project at Makerere University resumes services


Tenth International Association of Refugee Law Judges (IARLJ) World Conference in Tunisia

Spain: Legislation on immigration/asylum will breach human rights


U.K. Upper Tribunal clarifies protection claims for non-Arab Darfuris in Sudan

Deportation to Sudan would breach Article 3

Read the full newsletter.


Sudan: Arbitrary arrest and incommunicado detentions of Dr Amin Mekki Medani, Mr Farouq Abu Eissa, and Dr Farah Ibrahim Mohamed Alagar

(19 December 2014) Open Letter concerning the arbitrary arrest and incommunicado detentions of Dr Amin Mekki Medani, Mr Farouq Abu Eissa, and Dr Farah Ibrahim Mohamed Alagar by the Government of

Just before midnight on 6 December 2014, the Government of Sudan’s NISS arrested two prominent
public figures on their return from political negotiations held in Addis Ababa between Sudanese political and armed opposition groups. A large number of personnel from the NISS, arriving in six vehicles, arrested Dr Amin Mekki Medani, (m), 75 years of age, and Mr Farouq Abu Eissa, (m), 78 years of age, from their homes in Khartoum. Although their families were not informed of the reasons for the arrests, the men were detained after signing the “Sudan Call” on 3 December in Addis Ababa.

The “Sudan Call” is a declaration that commits signatories to work towards the end of the conflicts
raging in different regions of Sudan. The document also pledges to work towards legal, institutional and economic reforms. Dr Amin Mekki Medani signed the document on behalf of a group of civil society actors. Mr Farouq Abu Eissa signed on behalf of the Sudanese National Consensus Forces – an umbrella of political opposition parties – in his capacity as Chairperson of that group.

Read the full letter here.

With camps limiting many refugees, the UNHCR’s policy change is welcome

Posted on 2 October 2014 by Lucy Hovil

It is rare to witness a paradigm shift in refugee protection. But such a shift has just happened with the release of the new policy from the UN high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) on alternatives to refugee camps.

For refugees and their advocates, who have been shouting for years about the perils associated with camps, the policy is almost too good to be true. As it states: “From the perspective of refugees, alternatives to camps means being able to exercise rights and freedoms, make meaningful choices regarding their lives and have the possibility to live with greater dignity, independence and normality as members of communities.”

It makes perfect sense. But why has it taken so long?

For decades, the default response to refugee crises has been to set up camps or settlements and coerce refugees into them. Camps, it was argued, were best suited to meet the social, economic and political realities in which refugees are living.

Yet a significant body of research has demonstrated the exact opposite, pointing to the fact that those refugees who have opted out of the camp system – even when that means forgoing any humanitarian assistance – have established an effective alternative approach to exile.

Read more.