12 December 2012

Kenya: Supkem Protests New Passport Rules for Kids

The Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims in Garissa have accused the North Eastern department of immigration of discriminating against children applying for passports.

In a letter signed by Garissa Supkem chairman Abdullahi Salat, the clerics said children under the age of 16 are required to produce a letter from their chiefs and an affidavit indicating their parenthood besides the usual requirements in the application forms.

Participants at a Garissa district peace committee last month accused locals of helping aliens acquire ID cards which county commissioner Mohammed Maalim blamed for the deteriorating security in the region.

Leading security agents in North Eastern have in many public rallies called on residents not to aid aliens from war-torn Somalia acquire identification documents. They argue that the more than 600,000 refugees from Dadaab refugee camp may benefit from such schemes.

The letter, addressed to the Immigration PS, says the new requirements were done in bad faith and will lead to the marginalisation of the residents.

Salat urged the PS to protect children from discrimination because the constitution guarantees citizens' right to be served in government offices. The cleric asked the PS to withdraw the requirements for cordial relationship between his area staffs and residents.

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