The Constitution of Kenya, 2010 places great emphasis on Access to Justice by all, specifically, it provides for rights the Child extensively in Article 53 and reiterates importance of the Child’s best interest consideration in every matter concerning the child. The same is provided for in the Children’s Act of 2001. Access to justice as pertains to Children’s remains a critical tool of enhancing safeguards to child rights as espoused in various legal instruments. It is for this reason that the KNCHR has designated a specific child rights focal point to enhance mainstreaming of child rights programming and ensure swift action to resolve child rights violations and interventions.
The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights mandate to realize child rights is informed by;
- Article 59 2 (d) of the Constitution and Section 8 of the KNCHR Act, 2011 is mandated to; receive complaints, investigate, redress, monitor and report on observance of human rights in all spheres of life both public and private. Exercise of the Commission’s mandate includes the protection and promotion of children noting that children are first humans, notwithstanding the characteristics of human rights that recognise rights as inherent, indivisible, interdependent and universal. In short, realization of one right depends on the other and vice versa hence the National’s Commission mandate is to enhance the realization of the entire chapter 4 of the Constitution.
- UN General Comment No. 2 of 2002, which speaks to the importance of the role of NHRIs in the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of the Child. This comment directed specific recommendations to KNCHR to put in place strategies and structures for effective realization of child rights in a more prominent way rather than generalizing this under the human rights umbrella.
- Mandate accorded by other enacted Laws; such as the Persons deprived of liberty Act, the protection against torture Act,
- Membership in Strategic partnership and advocacy National platforms on various child rights accountability working groups/networks, membership to National taskforces, advisory boards relevant to child rights protection and promotion as well as NANHRI’s partnership.
- Affiliate membership to regional mechanisms like the African Commission on human and people’s rights; and obligations bestowed by Attorney General such as reporting under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The Commission strategies to enhance specific focus on realization of children rights commenced with appointment of a focal point for child rights who informed the mainstreaming of aspects of child rights programming in the core programmatic interventions.Currently, the Commission continues to strengthen child rights programming and realization of child rights by embracing the mainstreaming chid rights work in its core programmatic interventions which includes; receiving complaints on child rights violations, investigations, securing appropriate redress, promotion of economic social cultural rights, conducting research on child rights issues, monitoring compliance of state with international and regional treaties, advocacy for institutional reforms, conducting public awareness and capacity building for government actors, partnership with key stakeholders such as complaints handling referral partners, membership in key Government platforms like the National Council for Administration of Justice (NCAJ) Taskforce on children matters, taskforce on alternative justice system, National Legal Aid Board; all aimed at enhancing the realization of children rights in Kenya.