The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has expressed deep concern regarding the persistent and unchecked infringement of children’s rights amid the nationwide anti-government protests organized by the Azimio coalition.

The President of the Society, Eric Theuri, lamented that throughout the protests, numerous children have been subjected to “arrest, prosecution, and detention alongside adults,” which directly contradicts the safeguards outlined in the Children’s Act and Article 53 of the Constitution.

“The Act and the Constitution recognize the right of all children to be protected from abuse, neglect, harmful cultural practices, all forms of violence, inhumane treatment and punishment, and hazardous or exploitative labor,” he said.

Theuri emphasized that Article 30 of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child explicitly lays out guidelines on the treatment of children who are accused or found guilty of breaking the law.

Consequently, he urged the relevant government institutions to strictly adhere to the rule of law when dealing with children involved in these situations.

“We call upon all the responsible institutions including the National Police Service, ODPP, and the Judiciary to observe and respect the rights of the Children as enshrined in the Law,” he said.

On July 13, 2023, UNICEF, the UN children’s agency, also expressed profound worry regarding the safety and well-being of children in Nairobi and various regions of Kenya amidst the ongoing protests.

The statement from the LSK coincides with a period when the police continue to face severe criticism for their actions during the protests, with allegations of employing excessive force against demonstrators.

Theuri further voiced apprehensions about the troubling incidents involving unidentified individuals in civilian attire and others posing as police officers, carrying firearms, and being engaged in policing activities during the protests.

By Fred Odanga.