Ep 3: Kenya’s refugee policy: Towards coherence?
Fabian Oriri, Rufus Karanja and Sumayyah Mokku discuss the contradictions and potential within Kenya’s refugee policy.
Despite its relative generosity, Kenya’s refugee policy has been described by leading experts as contradictory and incoherent.
Why does a country containing some of the largest refugee camps in the world periodically threaten to close them? Why is it adopting progressive legislation on refugee management yet apparently hesitant to let refugees work?
In this episode, such questions are addressed by three leading experts in Kenyan refugee law and policy. Fabian Oriri, Rufus Karanja, and Sumayyah Mokku discuss the history and current direction of law and policy. Could the Marshall Plan and new Refugee Act signal greater coherence and establish Kenya as a leader in refugee management? Or will refugees continue to struggle for rights and recognition?
Fabian Oriri is a distinguished and free-thinking lawyer specialising in human rights, particularly refugee and migrant and health policy laws. He is deeply committed to utilising pragmatic and people-centred measures to effect positive social change by bridging legal frameworks.
Rufus Karanja has over 12 years’ experience in forced migration issues across the East and Horn of Africa. He has expertise in forced migration governance with a focus on humanitarian-development programming and policy advocacy on durable solutions for displacement-affected communities in fragile contexts. His passion over the years has been championing innovative durable solutions for displaced populations. Rufus is currently working as a Policy Officer at the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands focusing on durable solutions and forced migration in Somalia and Kenya.
Sumayyah Mokku is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya. She is a Litigation Adviser for Haki na Sheria Initiative (HSI), an NGO based in Garissa whose mission is to empower marginalised communities to understand, demand, and effectively claim their human rights in pursuit of an equitable society. Sumayyah is also a fellow for the East Africa Emerging Public Interest Advocates Programme at the Centre for Strategic Litigation based in Zanzibar, Tanzania. She is engaged in training on social justice issues in Kenya through advocacy, research and litigation with a view to promoting policy change.
Michael Owiso (2022) “Incoherent policies and contradictory priorities in Kenya”, Forced Migration Review 70
About Curated Conversations
The Curated Conversations: Exploring the Politics of Migration through Ideas (Season I) podcast series examines the past, present, and possible futures of migration within and from the African continent. It approaches migration with a critical and philosophical lens, drawing on the expertise of leading experts, thinkers, and practitioners in a series of in-depth interviews and discussions about migration histories and policy regimes. The geographical scope of the series is broad, with coverage spanning the length and breath of the continent in all its global connections. Experts from across Africa and its Euro-American diaspora are invited to share their knowledge, lived experience, and diverse perspectives on the interplay between borders and social phenomena.
Curated Conversations seeks to forge a new discussion around African migration in Europe and the West, but also within Africa itself: one that foregrounds African knowledge, lived experience, and political thought towards a humane and socially just order of mobility. The questions it asks include: What kind of ideas inform current migration policies in Africa? Where do they fall short, and what kinds of alternatives can we imagine?
The conversations were recorded between November 2022 and July 2023.
Curated by Ali Nobil Ahmad and Linah Kinya, African Migration Hub, Heinrich Böll Foundation. Co-published by African Arguments and the Heinrich Boll Foundation, Horn of Africa Office. Produced in Nairobi by Amp Studios Africa