The UN Refugee Convention cessation clause and its application to Rwandan refugees based in Kenya.
Okumu, Serah Esendi.
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Kenya like many other countries offers asylum to refugees in fulfillment of the provisions of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention as well as the 1969 OAU Refugee Convention. The country, with the assistance of UNHCR, confers refugee status on refugees who meet the qualifications stated by the two treaties as well as the Refugee Act 2006. Rwandan refugees make up part of the refugee community in Kenya. Though refugee status was created to enhance refugee protection in countries of asylum, it was never intended to last a lifetime. The United Nations envisioned an end to refugee status when the reasons for flight as well as persecution no longer continued to exist. The cessation clause marks the end of refugee status and thus facilitates re-establishment in the country of origin. This study endeavours to explore the impact that the cessation clause will have on Rwandan refugees residing in Kenya specifically based on the widespread concern about the human rights situation in Rwanda. There is accordingly a need to explore the nature of the cessation clause, the reasons for its creation and further the qualifications entailed in its application. After understanding what the cessation clause is, there is the need to understand the genesis of Rwandan refugees. This will enhance the understanding of why Rwandan refugees continue to reside in Kenya even after the end of the Rwandan conflict. The study will then expound on the reasons for and against invocation of a cessation clause to provide an analysis of whether the country is indeed safe for return. To enhance this analysis, the study will provide a comparative study with Liberia and Angola, which recently implemented cessation clauses. Through this comparative assessment, the study will seek to ascertain the viability of the concerns raised in reference to Rwanda and further speculate on the outcome of the cessation clause pertaining to the concerns raised. This study will therefore be able to advise on whether the cessation clause applies to Rwandan refugees and thereafter offer recommendations as to whether implementation in the Rwandan context is feasible. It will also endeavor to provide an analysis of whether there is a need to amend the invocation procedure with regard to cessation clauses in general.
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