refugee law

Asylum-seekers should be dealt with under refugee law, says Kenyan court – not under immigration legislation

The Kenyan courts regularly hear cases related to people claiming to be asylum-seekers. The latest, decided three months ago, led to a judgment pointing out that the men at the heart of the matter, flagged for deportation, had the right to access Kenya’s elaborate new system designed to inquire into the validity of someone’s claim for refugee status. The two men were convicted of being illegally in Kenya and were to have been deported once they had served their term of imprisonment.

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The problems experienced by Espoir Ndaruhuya and Fredy Ndakenesha, both from the Democratic Republic of Congo, are not unusual. They came to Kenya from the DRC, and told the trial court they entered the country intent on seeking refugee status. They were arrested, however, charged, tried and convicted – but under the law related to immigration, rather than the law that applies to refugees.

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