Kituo Cha Sheria through the Forced Migration Program (FMP) and supported by UNHCR-Kenya held a Training and Sensitization Workshop for Nakuru Court Users Committee (CUC) members. The intensive 2-day workshop was held on 25th and 26th April 2019 at the Merica Hotel, Nakuru. In an effort to implement one of FMP’s mandates in sensitizing and conducting training for stakeholders on refugee law and refugee protection in the urban area, FMP together with UNHCR-Kenya conducted the training and sensitization workshop for the Nakuru Law Courts CUC, constituted of officers who interact with refugees and asylum seekers in the courts on a day to day basis. The training was informed by the fact that Nakuru County has been a safe haven for South Sudanese refugees and other foreign nationals. As Kituo we have also intervened for several PoCs in the County who had been arrested and charged with unlawful presence and residing outside designated areas. The training drew 20 officials these included Magistrates from Nakuru Law Courts, Prosecutors, Probation officers, Children officers, the Executive Officer and Head of Criminal Registry Nakuru Law Courts, a representative from LSK South Rift Branch, a representative from the Attorney General’s Chambers and Immigration Officials. The sensitization/training workshop was an attempt to address this problem by equipping court officers with the requisite knowledge on handling refugee matters. The influx of urban based refugees has led to interaction by refugees with officers in the legal system and court structures. A majority of these officers have a limited knowledge of refugee matters e.g. legal framework & registration processes, documentation, rights and duties of refugees, etc. The knowledge gap affects their ability to adequately deal with refugees’ needs and constrains them in terms of legal protection.
The training was spearheaded by Kituo officers Yunia Atieno, Ms. Carol Kamau and UNHCR-Kenya’s Mark Nzano. The participants were educated about the different types of forced migrants including asylum seekers, refugees, IDPs, returnees, stateless persons and economic migrants. They were also enlightened on the distinction between camp-based refugees and urban-based refugees and reasons for their existence/classification. The CUC members expressed their gratitude to Kituo for organising the workshop and requested that this be carried out with increased frequency.