By Kevin Anyonge
Child rights are more vital in the current millennial and child protection from violence, discrimination and other forms of harm is a mandate to a country to ensure this rights are well advocated for. The Kenya constitution guarantees the rights of the child under Article 53 of Bill of Rights including the right to be protected from abuse, neglect, harmful cultural practices, all forms of violence, inhuman treatment and punishment, and hazardous or exploitative labour.
To ensure the bill of rights are well effected and performing to the required standards, countries are ranked by Kids Right Index annually according to how they have performed in five categories that are;
- Right to life
- Right to health
- Right to education
- Right to protection
- Enabling environment for child Rights.
The categories above ranks how countries have adhered and equipped to improve children rights, The Kids Right Index comprises a ranking for all UN member states that have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and for which sufficient data is available. A total of 165 countries are involved in this ranking.
The overall ranking saw many countries rise go the top while others performed poorly in the ranking, Portugal was Index’s number one while the runners up in the top ten countries were Norway,Switzerland,Iceland,Spain,France,Sweden,Thailand and Finland.
Portugal was lauded as a global front runner in 2017 for its strong performance in the fields of Child Legislation, health and education.
Those listed the bottom ten worst performing countries were Papua New Guinea, United Kingdom Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Vanuatu, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau and New Zealand.
Three Countries were honored after rising the ranks significantly since the 2016 index following their visible enhancements in fostering an empowering environment for children’s rights, those feted for these were Brunei from 111 to 65, Peru 87 to 62 and South Africa 109 to 84 impressed in 2017.
According to Kids Right Index ‘industrialized nations are failing drastically short of allocating sufficient budgets towards creating a stable environment for children’s rights’. Poorer countries like Thailand and Tunisia have been praised for their efforts to relative budget.
It has been noted that there is discrimination against minority groups across the globe in 2017, especially in North Africa and Middle East. Refugees and children are the most vulnerable and marginalized groups.
In a response to this continued discrimination, Kids Rights Foundation Founder Marc Dullaert urged the 165 countries ranked to treat non-discrimination as a policy priority in 2017.
‘Discrimination against vulnerable groups of children and youths should be met head-on by all 165 governments represented in the index. It is severely hampering the opportunities of future generations to reach their full potential’’
Kenya performed well in 2017 at position 121 overall, in comparison with the United Kingdom which made a drastic fall from the 11th Position to 156th, United Kingdom fall may be attributed to the ‘Brexit’ some few months ago from the European Union, this may have affected their economic prosperity hence their poor performance in child rights environment. The better performance for Kenya was as a result of the improved policy and legal frame work. Increase to access to health and education due to devolution.
Despite of having very progressive laws and policies Kenya is still lagging behind on adequate budget allocation for children services, for example the Department of Children Services received less than 500 Million, which is very low compared to the data on child abuse in Kenya. The Kenya social workforce is still very weak with the current ratio of children officer to population being 1:30,000.
Poor coordination of children services between government agencies and between government and non-governmental agencies is still very weak, hence causing a lot children falling in the system cracks. 28% of Kenyan girls and women have been cut while 40% were married below the age of 18 years, a lot of boys in pastoral communities drop out of school to be pastoralists this negative cultural have pulled Kenya’s rating down.
Some parts of Kenya have been experiencing conflict, resulting to a number of children being killed or harmed hence being denied there rights. The volatility has resulted Kenya to loose some points.
Children have become victims of corruption, with funding meant to improve the welfare of children being diverted to corrupt dealing. This has led Kenya loosing funding that is essential to improve the lives of children as donor move to other favorable communities.
The Kenyan government needs to step up her child sensitivity by ensuring that the draft children’s bill 2016 is passed into law as fast as possible. Increase budget allocation for children services at the National and county level. Strengthen the social workforce to ensure children are served from the ward level. Have a conversation with communities practicing FGM and Child marriage in order to come up with community driven solutions.
The government of Kenya needs to be intentional in dealing with corruption. Because corruption is robbing the future of our children and putting them in more debt.
We would love to hear from you on your thoughts on Kenya’s rating in the Kid’s Rights Index
Kevin is reporter with Mtoto News
Mtoto News is an online platform of news, information and resources that aims at making significant change in the lives of children by making them visible. Read mtotonews.com or follow us on twitter and Facebook @mtotonews