Kenya’s 2010 Constitution guarantees every child the right to a name and nationality from birth. In addition, the country is party to a number of international instruments, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which provides for a child’s registration immediately after birth and the child’s right to acquire a nationality.
In Kenya, childhood statelessness occurs owing to both lengthy and complex registration procedures and the higher risk of statelessness for children born to stateless parents. Persons already found to be stateless will have difficulty accessing the civil registry for their children owing to the overall invisibility and fear that stateless persons face in confrontation with authorities. This factor combined with the already difficult procedures may deter parents from registering the births of their children.
At the beginning of 2018, the Ministry of Education (MoE) in Kenya issued a directive requiring all children to present birth certificates at the start of that school year. This provides ample opportunity to support stateless persons and persons at risk of statelessness to register the births of their children thereby meeting this new demand by the government.
Two generations of stateless Shona women weave baskets on the floor of their home in the town of Githurai on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya © UNHCR/ Tobin Jones, October 2017
1. Improving birth registration to prevent statelessness in Garissa County.
Goal: By the end of July 2019, 1400 children will have been issued with birth certificates in Garissa County