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Recognition of religion or belief in Kenya

According to the standards set out in the SRR, conditions for RoRB in the Republic of Kenya are classified restrictive.

Recognition of religion or belief in Kenya


  • Discrimination within the recognition system is made between indigenous, traditional and new religious groups, typically against the latter.

  • Recognition and registration look to be amalgamated rather than ideally differentiated; there is a focus primarily on legal registration but a great deal of ambiguity and unstructure exists as to what registration with the government truly means for the registered group.

  • Ongoing threats from terrorist groups from neighbouring Somalia, primarily al-Shabaab, force the social situation in Kenya to remain tense, particularly as communities still reel from the 2013, 2017 and 2019 major attacks from the group; these ongoing issues in the social fabric can be fixed through sustained interfaith dialogue, mutual recognition of the diversity of belief both from religious leaders and the state itself, and the continual improvement of religious education in the country.

  • The Registrar of Societies’ obligation to report to the government demonstrates broad politicisation of the registration process.

  • The rule of mandatory registration contravenes the Bielefeldt provision.

Positive elements:

  • Nil.


  • Ensure that the recognition system is equalised; that no discrimination exists between new, indigenous and traditional religions.

  • Establish provisions for existential recognition and legal registration.

  • Establish a recognition agency independent of government.

  • Revoke the mandatory registration rule.

RoRB Topic
RoRB Compliance
RoRB Classification
Country or territory
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