Cybercrimes Act suspended
Almost immediately after becoming official law, 26 clauses of the Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes Act 2018 were suspended by Kenyan courts, following an argument by privacy and human rights lobby groups that the clauses facilitated online censorship. The suspended clauses include clauses related to OCSE, such as section 24 on child pornography, section 27 on cyber harassment, and section 37 on wrongful distribution of obscene or intimate images.
Within this context, Terre des Hommes Netherlands believes that regardless of specialised laws, child online safety should be integrated in mainstream legal frameworks as well. Informed by this, through the Children Agenda Forum we facilitated advocacy initiatives around the Children Bill 2018, where local child and youth rights civil society organisations jointly developed advocacy strategies to lobby parliament to pass the bill once it is being tabled.
Children Bill 2018
According to Terre des Hommes Netherlands and our partners, the Children Bill 2018 is a great improvement of the current Children Act 2001. The new Bill for instance provides alternative care and restorative justice options for children in conflict with the law, and it clearly stipulates division of roles and responsibilities of the key child focused agencies in government including the Department of Children Services and the National Council for Children Services.
Moreover, the Children Bill 2018 is better synchronised to recent developments, by including emerging issues that affect children such as climate change, radicalisation and internet safety. Thanks to sensitisation by child focused organisations including Terre des Hommes Netherlands, the issues of internet safety and online exploitation and abuse have been included in the Bill, specifically Section 20 clause 3, 4, 5.
Multi disciplinary approach on OCSE
Apart from the legal framework, concerted efforts are needed to ensure a multi disciplinary approach to combat OCSE among all stakeholders. Terre des Hommes Netherlands contributed its expertise to the ‘Unified voice for safe online platforms’ conference, organised by the County Government of Nairobi and the International Center for Missing and Exploited children (ICMEC). Also participating were the Department of Children Services, the Teachers Service Commission and various (mainly health focused) NGO’s. Main conclusions of this conference were the commitment to support and coordinate capacity strengthening, expansion of the cyber crime unit, creation of strong referral pathways and provision of psychosocial support to child victims of online exploitation.