Stakeholders responsible for children’s rights matters have been urged to work together to ensure the children access justice.
This was the message during the launch of the annual Child Justice Service Month, November, held at the Kerugoya Children’s’ Court.
The theme of this year is, ‘Social Transformation Through Access to Justice’
Justice John Mutugi from Lands and Environment Court, who presided over the event on behalf of Kerugoya High Court Presiding Judge Justice Richard Mwongo, said every November, they prioritize the hearing and determination on matters dealing with children.
Justice Mutugi also said children are the heartbeats of our nation, they represent the future and their welfare must take priority in our society.
“Within the next 3 weeks all magistrates will be dedicated to hearing and making sure all children cases will be dealt with either by disposing them or fast-tracking,” he said.
He thanked the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) for ensuring that the children are represented in court freely
“All children matter has legal representation and I think the LSK has a critical role playing this area, they give pro-bono services and it is for that reason we say thank you to their president here,” he added.
He noted the children have rights and it was upon the society to take care of their rights.
The Kerugoya Court Chief Magistrate Alex Ithuku assured the public that the month of November is customarily for children matters and they will dedicate time for them.
He also said as judiciary they will implement a vision of social transformation that will ensure children get into the courts with minimum inconvenience.
“This month I request all stakeholders to intentionally, deliberately and find time for our children. Children have no business being in our justice system and spending their time here when they should be growing up and learning,” Ithuku said.
He also added all magistrates are gazetted to work in Children’s’ Court and they will try to finish on about 80 children matters that are currently in the inventory.
Loise Mugure Gichuki, Children Officer, said some people do not highlight children’s issues, even when they come across them, adding there are many children out there who need protection and it should come from every person.
She said the government has enacted requisite laws notably Article 53 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 that affirm that children rights are human rights.
The sub county education officer, Kennedy Machora, said the Ministry of Education is committed to dealing with cases affecting children by all angles.
“All child abuse and neglect cases were dealt every time they were brought to their attention,” Machora said.
Machora urged the judiciary to come up with the law that in case of disputes the court orders that the children remain in the school until the case is determined.
By Lydia Karugi