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Internally Displaced Persons Bill must advance the right to access information, says ARTICLE 19

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - Nairobi, 5 July 2012 - Today, ARTICLE 19 releases its legal analysis of the Internally Displaced Persons Bill for Kenya (“the Draft Bill”), welcoming the initiative to institutionalise protection and assistance for internally displaced persons (IDPs). The Draft Bill contains robust provisions to increase information flows to and from IDPs, but the effectiveness of protection and assistance to IDPs will depend on stronger safeguards for information rights, greater participation of IDPs in decision-making, and enhancing transparency.

"Empowering IDPs to claim their information rights is essential for enabling them to assert their other rights, in particular their economic and social rights," said Henry Maina, ARTICLE 19 Director for Eastern Africa. "The Draft Bill presents an opportunity to clearly establish that access to information is crucial for effecting durable solutions to displacement, and for pre-empting further instability and violence in Kenya."

The Parliamentary Select Committee for Labour and Social Welfare is now reviewing the Draft Bill and has the opportunity to propose amendments to be considering during the second reading of the Draft Bill in the House.

ARTICLE 19 recommends the insertion to the Draft Bill of a stand-alone guarantee for the right of access to information during all phases of the response to displacement. This must be accompanied by specific measures to address the gap in providing information and requiring consultation with IDPs during their displacement on matters concerning protection and assistance.

The National Consultative Coordination Committee should be required to disclose to IDPs comprehensive information on the benefits of registration, and publicly disclose disaggregated data collected about IDPs to inform public debate, foster transparency and encourage accountability. To the same end, the annual reports of this body must also be published publicly and disseminated broadly.

ARTICLE 19 believes that enacting the Freedom of Information Bill and ratifying the African Union Kampala Convention is urgently needed to further enhance the effectiveness of Kenya's response to internal displacement. Above all, the Draft Bill should be enacted and implemented prior to the next Presidential election.

Read the analysis

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