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Kenya

IEBC keen to ensure IDPs and refugees take part in elections

A Kenyan votes in the August 7, 2017 General Election. /CFM-FILE.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 29- The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is now seeking to adopt laws that will ensure Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees participate in elections.

The electoral body’s Chairman Wafula Chebukati said the move is aimed at ensuring all Kenyans take part in the crucial exercise of electing the country’s leaders.

“The issue of participation of refugees and IDPs in the electoral process is a conversation we must have in order to avert the disenfranchisement of this section of humanity,” he said Thursday in Nairobi, during the 6th Annual Continental Forum of Election Management Bodies organised by the African Union Commission (AUC), working with the Association of African Electoral Authorities and IEBC.

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati addressing participants at the 6th Annual Continental Forum of Election Management Bodies organised jointly with the African Union Commission (AUC), working with the Association of African Electoral Authorities. /IEBC.

Chebukati said the move is also aimed at ensuring the protection and advancement of the political rights of refugees and IDPs as part of internationally recognized rights and practice.

Attorney-General Kihara Kariuki stressed the need to continually improve the socio-political climate in the country.

“The IDPs and Refugees must participate in a manner that ensures their security and dignity, and does not burden them with laborious requirements in terms of registration, travel, and verification,” he said.

The conference’s goal was to foster inclusive and sustainable electoral processes through the effective participation of the Refugees and IDPs.

According to the United Nations, about 21.5 million Africans, almost a third of the global estimate, are forcibly displaced, including 6.3 million refugees and asylum seekers, 712,00 stateless persons and 14.5 million IDPs.

Regional Director of Africa and West Asia international, Adebayo OLukoshi spoke of a generational dimension to the IDP phenomenon. A significant proportion of IDPs is women, children, and young people.

In Kenya, more than half a million people were displaced, mainly in Rift Valley, after the disputed presidential election of 2007, when 1500 others were killed and hundreds more injured..

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