The resultant skirmishes of the 2007 disputed presidential elections in Kenya, popularly the 2007/2008 Post Election Violence (PEV) – had a devastating effect to the citizens of Kenya. The period went down to the Kenyan history as having the largest internal displacement of its population. This was majorly fuelled by the tribal and ethnic polarization which has over time determined the political direction of Kenya. It was coupled with the struggle and fight for resources, especially land. The Habitat for Humanity- Kenya puts the number of displaced persons to be 630,000. Whereas after displacement some remained in camps, others chose to integrate with communities.
The Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) continue to face a lot of challenges. These include; deplorable living conditions, health problems, and lack of compensation for lost property and livelihoods. Despite the government’s efforts to look into these issues, IDPs, human rights organizations and the international community have raised concerns on lack of transparency and corruption in the IDP profiling and resettlement process. Further, peace and reconciliation efforts across the country have been inadequate. In addition, integrated IDPs and persons displaced by flooding, evictions, resource-based conflicts and ethnic clashes in 1992 and 1997 have largely been ignored by the State.
Despite a cry from the IDPs and recommendations from various sectors to the Government to undertake an inclusive and public IDP re-vetting exercise, to provide and support all integrated IDPs, to extend IDP resettlement programme to include historical IDPs and squatters, to accelerate payment of monies to remaining IDPs and fast track the adoption of the National IDP policy and legal framework, less has been done. Often, an inadequate financial resource has been forwarded as the reason for inaction.
It is on this note that Kituo Cha Sheria embarked on empowering the IDPs to realize their rights through the provided legal provisions and mechanisms. One such law is the Prevention, Protection and Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons and Affected Communities Act, 2012 (IDP Act 2012). This legislation provides for the definition of IDPs and the guiding principles of prevention, protection and assistance. It also stipulates duties and responsibilities of both levels of governments owed to the IDPs among others.
The simplified and translated booklet of the IDP Act, 2012 will be insightful to both the IDPs, both levels of Government and stakeholders to the realization of justice for IDPs. For more information on the IDP Act ( Swahili and English Versions) click on this link: http://kituochasheria.or.ke/gallery/publications/english-publications/
Kituo Cha Sheria.