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Residents urged to safeguard children’s rights for a brighter future 

As the Judiciary celebrates children services’ month in November, residents have been challenged to safeguard the rights of children in order to guarantee them a better tomorrow.

Chairperson of the National Council of Administrative Justice (NCAJ) Lady Justice Teresia Matheka said the Children’s Act 2022 had made tremendous strides in addressing the rights of children.

She was speaking during a sensitization meeting of the Court Users Committee held at a Kabarnet resort in Baringo Central Sub-County.

“We should have a work plan on dealing with children’s issues in order to make an impact on their jurisdiction.  We ought to identify and narrow down on emerging issues and how to deal with them,” she said.

The Vice chairperson of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNHCR) Raymond Nyeris said the Commission was committed to fighting for the rights of all persons including children born intersex, with disabilities, from marginalized communities, born from migrant parents and those born from parents who have committed crimes so that they do not face discrimination.

“KNCHR prioritizes the rights and welfare of children using the human rights based approach of the principle of participation, accountability, transparency, human dignity, non-discrimination and the rule of law,” Nyeris said.

The Chief Magistrate at Kabarnet Law Courts Judith Wanjala, added that the court was committed to dealing with children’s issues but cited the challenge of distance to reach court as a major impediment to justice.

“The lack of a children’s police holding unit in Baringo is a problem and I want to laud Lady Justice Matheka for spearheading such construction in the Nyeri law courts,” Wanjala said.

Vienna Amboko, Senior Resident Magistrate at Kabarnet law courts noted with concern that sexual offenses/ defilement were on the rise especially during the covid-19 period noting that they had a total of 89 active cases with the majority of 63 from Baringo Central, 21 from Baringo South and five from Tiaty East Sub-Counties citing a lack of sensitization and a gap in parenting as the major contributors.

Herman Dzombo, the Children’s Officer representing the County Director of Children Services said they had dealt with 592 cases from July to November this year with a total of 409 cases being those of child neglect followed by 36 of abandoned children.

“Information gap is a major issue and community sensitization should be done on the rights of children,” Dzombo said.

The Children’s Act 2022 stipulates that each Sub-County should have a rescue center to accommodate children in need of care and protection, a right to demonstrate, diversion policy for children in conflict with the law and free medical care and training for children born with disabilities.

In addition, the Act gives child issues serious precedence with the establishment of the Legal Aid Act that helps give representation to children in conflict with the law.

By Caroline Cherono

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