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Press Statement: Alleged Child Rights Violations at Child Welfare Society Of Kenya (CWSK)

9th September, 2019                                  For Immediate Release

ALLEGED CHILD RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AT CHILD WELFARE SOCIETY OF KENYA (CWSK)

The attention of Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) has been drawn to the adverse media reports and subsequent public outcry following a media expose on alleged massive violation of children’s rights housed in a facility managed by the Child Welfare Society of Kenya (CWSK).

The media investigative report titled, “THE LEAD: Sad Story of Poor Kenyan minors neglected and abandoned by their Government,” was broadcasted on Tuesday, 3rd September, 2019 at 9pm by the Standard Media Group’s Television Station, KTN News. The expose brought to the fore a number of human rights violations that have and continue to be perpetuated against the vulnerable children entrusted to the care and custody of the Child Welfare Society of Kenya.

According to the media expose, there is credible documentation to support the alleged violations. Further, the media report makes reference to the access of whistle blowers who were heard calling upon the various duty bearers to act and protect the vulnerable children from the untold sufferings and child rights violation.

To this end, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights takes notice of the alleged human rights and child rights violations highlighted in the media report.  The Commission notes that these are gross violations to;

  1. The right to human dignity
  2. The right to basic nutrition, shelter  and healthcare
  3.  The right for every child to be protected from abuse, neglect, harmful cultural practices, all forms of violence, inhuman treatment and punishment.
  4. The right to compulsory basic education

The Commission notes that Article 53 of the Constitution of Kenya provides a detailed entitlement of every child in Kenya and clarifies that the best interest of the child is of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child. The Commission takes cognizance that the Constitution and the provisions of the Children’s Act 2001 are aimed at ensuring that every child is safeguarded irrespective of whether they are in the hands of their parents, guardians, in public or private care-giving institutions.

In view of the above and in light of the ongoing mainstream and social media conversations on the subject, Kenya National Commission on Human rights opines that Children Rights Are Human Rights’. Similarly the alleged children rights violations have elicited strong public interest since the children in question are Kenyan citizens who were supposed to be protected by the Child Welfare Society of Kenya, an entity funded by public funds. This then invites the application of the National Values and Principles as espoused in Articles 10 and 28 of the Constitution in assessing the reported alleged human rights violations and the Commission’s call for accountability on the alleged violations.

To this end, the Commission reminds the custodians of these children that;

  1. The right to life is sacrosanct,
  2. The right to respect and protection of  human dignity is inherent and
  3. The right to the highest attainable standard of health are key constitutional guarantees outlined in Chapter 4 of the Kenya Constitution.

Therefore, the alleged violations of the rights of vulnerable children at Child Welfare Society of Kenya must be investigated comprehensively and those found culpable be held to account through the justice system.

It is on the basis of the foregoing that the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights makes the following recommendations for immediate action;

  1. That the Director of Directorate of Criminal Investigations  commences comprehensive investigations into the alleged  child rights violations and abuse;
  2. That the Director of Children’s Services, in collaboration with other children-friendly care-giving institutions immediately rescues the children from the Child Welfare Society of Kenya facility in order to stop and forestall further child rights violations;
  3. That all the key stakeholders, the public, media houses, civil society organizations to submit to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations  or the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights any key information that can help aid the police investigations;
  4. That the enactment of the Children’s Bill, 2019 should be expedited by Parliament to ensure stronger child protection safeguards and proper oversight of Children Institutions in Kenya.

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights also calls upon the affected parent(s) and any members of public with relevant information to share their statements or complaints with the Commission by visiting our Head Office located in Hurlingham, CVS Plaza, Kasuku Road off Lenana Road, or call us on 0724 256 448 / 0733 780 000 or send an SMS on 22359. A Commission staff will respond and/or get in touch immediately.

Kagwiria Mbogori,

Chairperson

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights

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