Makueni High Court Presiding Judge, Justice Charles Kariuki wants political leaders and the local administration in the county to sensitize residents against violation of children and women rights.
Justice Kariuki said cases of domestic and sexual violence among girls and young women in the county were on the rise and attributed the unprecedented increase on lack of awareness.
“The number of defilement and Gender Based Violence (GBV) cases brought before the courts in Makueni are worrying and I would urge the local leadership to create awareness so that the rights of these young girls and women are protected and upheld,” said the judge.
Speaking Monday at Unoa grounds during the International Human Rights day celebrations, Justice Kariuki also decried the high number of young men serving life sentences for committing defilement.
“The sentence for defilement of a child 11 years and below is life imprisonment. Most of perpetrators are young men in their 20s who, when sentenced rush to the courts to make appeals because they do not want to spend their productive years in jail yet they have destroyed the lives of victims,” he said.
The presiding judge warned residents against meting out mob justice to perpetrators of defilement.
“Residents should remain warned that anyone who kills or beats a sexual offender will be prosecuted for violating the rights of the offender. Nobody has the authority to kill or maim someone regardless of what they have done,” added Justice Kariuki.
On issue of releasing defilement suspects on bail and bonds, the judge said it was a right enshrined in the constitution that courts cannot deny the suspects.
“The constitution allows suspects to be released on either bail or bond unless under very special cases and until the law is changed there is nothing courts can do,” he said.
The judge also called on both national and county governments to uphold the human rights of Kenyans for sustainable development.
“We also urge Kenyans to observe the human rights of others for a peaceful co-existence,” added justice Kariuki.
Speaking at the same event, Deputy Director Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) Veronica Mwangi called on residents to support the government in combating human trafficking by reporting such cases to relevant authorities.
Ms. Mwangi also called on parents with young adults seeking employment to help their children to thoroughly vet potential employers.
“Many parents do not give much thought to who employ their children and others readily give out their children especially girls to work as house helps without doing any background investigation, “said the KNCHR deputy director.
Speaking when he flagged the International Human Rights day walk from his office, Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana underscored the need to uphold and protect human rights for all persons as envisaged in the constitution and other international conventions.
By Roselyne Kavoo