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Optional protocolon the involvement of children in armed conflict
Corporal punishmentCorporal Punishment is prohibited.
Overview of the child rights situation

Kenya's report reveals a poor overall situation for children in the country. This is especially true for the many children who are affected by discrimination. In addition, there are armed conflicts in which children, in particular those who belong to certain socially and economically marginalized religious or ethnic groups, are repeatedly forced to participate due to their catastrophic living conditions.

Female genital mutilation and reproductive rights

The Committee urges the State party to intensify efforts to eliminate discrimination, particularly patriarchal attitudes and gender stereotypes, and ensure that a wide range of stakeholders, including girls and all sectors of society, are involved in such efforts so as to facilitate social and cultural change and to create an environment that promotes equality.

The Committee is concerned that despite its legal prohibition, harmful practices such as female genital mutilation, child marriage and “beading” of girls are still persistent. The Committee is further concerned that the medicalization of female genital mutilation has reportedly increased.

The Committee recommends to Kenya to decriminalize abortion and enforce effectively the prohibition of female genital mutilation, including that practiced by health practitioners, child marriage, and other forms of harmful practices.

Situation of children with disabilities

There is a lack of disaggregated data that are necessary for designing a comprehensive strategy for the inclusion of children with disabilities. Furthermore, many mainstream schools are not equipped for inclusive education and specialized schools are not available, accessible or affordable. Therefore, the Committee recommends to Kenya to intensify measures, including awareness-raising, to combat stigma against children with disabilities and give priority to inclusive education at mainstream schools over special schooling.

Situation of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant childrenThe Committee commends the State party’s efforts to accept a large number of asylum seekers and refugees from neighbouring countries. However, the Committee is concerned that the State party’s long-term encampment policy and certain proposals and responses to the heightened security situation in the State party do not fully respect and protect the rights of asylum-seeking and refugee children. To improve the situation for asylum-seeking and refugee children, the Committee urges Kenya to ensure that returns of refugees, including refugee children, will not occur unless their returns are voluntary and carried out in safety and dignity. Also, Kenya should ensure that all security operations and policies relevant to asylum seekers and refugees comply fully with international human rights and refugee law.Furthermore, the Committee is concerned about the “radicalization” of children and their recruitment into non-State armed groups, mainly due to the social and economic marginalization of certain religious or ethnic groups.
Free kindergartenNot clear
Free primary and secondary schoolYes
physical health

Costs for health-care services remain a barrier and child immunization coverage is declining, partly due to objections against child vaccination campaigns by some members of the Catholic Church. To guarantee the highest attainable standard of health for every child, the Committee urges the State Party to progressively expand the coverage of free health care for children to children above 5 years of age and increase the overall national and county budget allocations to the health sector.

Concerning adolescent health, the Committee is concerned that the level of drug and substance abuse among young people is high and that the rates of early pregnancy and of maternal mortality among adolescents, including due to unsafe abortions, remain high.

Relation to other countries
Impacts of climate change

The Committee is concerned about evictions of indigenous peoples from their lands under the pretext of national development and resource conservation, which have resulted in serious violations of the rights of indigenous children, aggravated by poverty, insecurity and conflict among indigenous communities.

The Committee is also concerned about illegal dumping of toxic wastes and other forms of environmental pollution, which have a serious impact on children’s health.

Business sector

The Committee is concerned that the weak regulation of activities of business enterprises results in illegal acquisition of public lands, including the premises of public schools, by private individuals and business enterprises.
Also, there is a prevalence of child labour, including the commercial sexual exploitation of children, and human trafficking for child labour.
To improve the situation, the Committee recommends to establish a clear regulatory framework for business enterprises operating in the State party to ensure that their activities do not negatively affect child rights or breach environmental, health or labour standards, especially those relating to children. Furthermore, the Committee recommends that the State party monitor the compliance of business enterprises with such regulations, as well as with international and national environmental, health and labour standards, and sanction appropriately and provide remedies when violations occur.

Situation of juvenile justice

The Committee notes as problems in Kenya's juvenile justice system that there is insufficient information on legal assistance provided to children in conflict with the law and children are still treated as adults and held together with adults. The Committee recommends that the State party ensure that adequate facilities exist for children in conflict with the law, and that detention conditions are compliant with international standards, including with regard to access to education and health services. Also, Kenya should adopt a holistic and preventative approach to addressing the problem of children in conflict with the law and the underlying social factors, with a view to supporting children who are vulnerable due to poverty and social exclusion, including by expanding intervention programmes, vocational training and other outreach activities.

Specific observations

The Committee welcomes the establishment of the Kenya Children’s Assembly at national, county and sub-county levels. Nevertheless, the Committee is concerned that the Children’s Assembly is not open or accessible to certain groups of children, such as refugee children and children with disabilities.
Additionally, the Committee is seriously concerned about killings of, and trafficking of, children with albinism for body parts, including about such acts that are committed by family members.

Additional background

Concluding observations on the third to fifth periodic reports released on 21 March 2016.More information about education in Kenya:

Last Updated (date)2nd of March, 2022