Let us keep up fight on rights of children
As we observe the Day of the African child on the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, we must go back to the drawing board to ensure we walk the talk on issues affecting young ones.
Kenya ratified the Charter providing that children should be allowed to enjoy their rights and freedom, including rights to physical, mental and spiritual health; protected from all forms of torture and inhuman treatment; special treatment in case they are accused or found guilty of having broken the law.
The Charter also calls for governments and other stakeholders to put in place measures to ensure children enjoy these rights and freedoms and to promote their general wellbeing.
However, despite the declaration and other laws and policies in place, children are exposed to the same threats we are meant to protect them from.
The 2019 Violence Against Children survey by the ministry of Labour and Social Protection, shows the prevalence of brutality against young ones is high, with physical violence the most common.
It also shows parents, caregivers and adult relatives are leading perpetrators of physical violence against children of all sexes.
Experts indicate the impact of such violence and unfriendly environment is strong and long lasting.
As such, it is critical that we ramp up protection of the future generation and allow them to grow in a peaceful and enabling environment.
The formulation of the National Prevention And Response Plan On Violence Against Children in Kenya 2019 – 2023 is a step in the right direction as it shows that we are acknowledging the problem, but its success can only be measured by implementation of the various strategies therein.
Besides the plan, there is a need for individuals and communities to take a stand and fight against violence.
Campaigns and community awareness on what violence against children looks like, what to do and where to go in case they spot it.
Children should also be allowed to speak up about violence without being shamed and stigmatised in families and communities.
Punishment and prosecution of perpetrators will go a long way to ensure the community forms trust with the justice system and enable it to report even more cases.
Only in empowering the community in such a way would we be able to stop the menace.