On the eve of the Day of the African Child 2020, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) and Joining Forces Alliance for Children (JFA-Kenya) have together issued a public statement to emphasise the need for specific child protection directives during the COVID-19 crisis in Kenya. The statement also acts as an advisory brief to the various Government agencies citing the overall lack of child protection COVID-19 pandemic guidelines.
The KNCHR and JFA-Kenya have noted with concern lack of key guidelines that relate to the handling of increased cases of child abuse, Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV), lack of child protection measures to safeguard access to justice and assistance for children and lack of prioritisation of all children in vulnerable situations in the ongoing COVID-19 social protection humanitarian support. From the onset, the KNCHR and JFA-Kenya reiterate that children rights must be at the centre of the COVID-19 response mechanisms.
It is on this basis that the KNCHR and JFA-Kenya have come together to add the voice of the children by calling upon the Government of Kenya to put in place safeguard measures to address the existing gaps that have the potent of retrogressing on Kenya’s progress in realising her obligations to all children. The KNCHR and JFA-Kenya note there has been a profound delay in enacting the 2019 Children Bill and this continues to impact retrogressively to Kenya’s obligation to the promotion and protection of children’s rights. Further, the KNCHR and JFA-Kenya note that the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection has not been vocal enough in advocating for child protection measures in the National and County Governments’ COVID-19 decisions and directives.
The KNCHR and JFA-Kenya’s public statement further lists the key concerns, followed by recommendations.
The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) is an independent National Human Rights Institution created by Article 59 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010. It is the state’s lead agency in the promotion and protection of human rights.
The Joining Forces Alliance is a collaboration between the six leading NGOs working with and for children under the age of 18 (ChildFund Alliance, Plan International, Save the Children International, SOS Children's Villages International, Terre des Hommes International Federation, and World Vision International).