Rising violence against children ‘big obstacle’

By NATION Correspondents
Posted Wednesday, June 16 2010 at 21:01

Violence against children is the biggest obstacle to government efforts to improve their livelihoods, a Cabinet minister said on Wednesday.

Gender and Children minister Esther Murugi said kidnappings for ransom, battery, sexual abuse, neglect, and even murder of children were on the rise.

However, she said that the ministry had prepared Bills intended to protect children. The Anti-Trafficking and Female Genital Mutilation Bills, she said, would be debated in Parliament soon.

Protect lives

She was speaking during celebrations to mark the Day of the African Child at Mwangaza Primary School in Kayole, Nairobi. Children who spoke at the function called on the government to curb the rising cases of violence against them.

Piox Barker of Komarock Primary School said it was the responsibility of parents and the government to protect the lives and rights of children.

Ms Murugi said that despite the challenges facing her ministry, the free primary education and subsidised secondary education programmes had encouraged high enrolment, retention, and completion rates among children.

Elsewhere, a Standard Seven girl in Chepalungu District is fighting for her life after her class teacher beat her, allegedly for failing to complete her homework.

The pupil of Chepkosa Primary School has been unconscious for five days. She is said to have been among pupils who were whipped by a female teacher.

The girl had been admitted to Sigor sub-district hospital shortly after the incident, but was transferred to Tenwek Mission Hospital when her condition worsened.

A doctor at the hospital, who declined to be named because he was no authorised to speak to the media said he suspected that the pupil may have been hit on the head.

He described her condition as “stable but requiring close monitoring.” The school’s head teacher was among those who rushed the girl to hospital. He said he had reported the matter to the district education officer.


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