Citizenship – Kenya

In February 2013, Namati, the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), and Nubian Rights Forum began a pilot citizenship program in the Kibera area of Nairobi, where over 50 percent of Kenyan Nubians live.

The Nubians trace their roots to the Nubian mountains in Sudan. Their ancestors came to Kenya with the British colonial army in the years before World War One. Since Kenyan independence, the Nubians have struggled to make their right to Kenyan citizenship a reality.

Nubian paralegals assist other members of their community with obtaining birth certificates, national ID cards, passports and death certificates in accordance with established legal procedures. Unlike many other ethnic groups in Kenya, Nubians tend to be subject to “vetting” by a committee made up of elders and government officials as part of the identity document application process. Vetting not only requires applicants to answer extensive questions on their origins and submit documents such as the birth certificates of parents and grandparents, but this extra legal process also causes significant time delays and monetary costs for Nubians.