By Isaiah Lucheli
The High Court has restrained the Government from rounding up all refugees in urban centres.
High Court Judge David Majanja blocked the Government and its agents from organising a swoop on all refugees and asylum seekers and holding them at Thika Municipal Stadium before dispatching them to Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps.
In his ruling following a suit filed by Kituo Cha Sheria under certificate of urgency, the judge issued the conservatory order stopping the move until the suit is heard and determined. “I hereby issue order prohibiting the Government, its agents or State officers from implementing the decision made on December 18, 2012 until the petition is heard and determined,” he ruled Wednesday.
Kituo Cha Sheria moved to court opposing the Government’s decision to start repatriating refugees from January 21, terming the move unconstitutional. “The said decision is in violation of many provisions of the Constitution as well as international law concerning refugee protection. There is need for the court to halt the decision to give affected parties an opportunity to ventilate their concerns,” the institution’s lawyer Solomon Masitsa said in the petition.
He said the decision to move all the refugees to camps was based on unfounded theory that the refugees as a whole were a threat to national security and it violates the principle of individual criminality.
“The moving of the refugees to camps will be followed by eventual repatriation to the frontier of their countries of origin, a move that violates Article 33 of the UN Convention on the status of refugees as well as Section 18 of Refugees Act,” said the lawyer.
The organisation asked the court to stop the Government from receiving, registering and closing down all registration centres in urban areas. He submitted that the decision of the Government to move all refugees was undertaken without consultations.