Lesotho enacts Children's Protection and Welfare Act

On 8 June 2011 the Parliament of Lesotho passed the country’s Children’s Protection and Welfare Bill into law. This is a remarkable achievement in light of the fact that this Act will now replace the outdated Children’s Protection Act of 1980. Approximately five years of process took place in order to see the realisation of this key piece of legislation to advance the rights of children in Lesotho.  This Act in itself now contains key provisions on orphaned and vulnerable children; residential care for children and justice for children.

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Children's Rights and the new Constitution in Kenya

On 27 August 2010, Kenya promulgated into law a new Constitution which was overwhelmingly supported at the national referendum on the 4th of the same month. Besides ushering in a new political and democratic dispensation, the new Constitution lays down a normative and structural framework for the protection of human rights in Kenya.  The new Constitution has a comprehensive Bill of Rights which sets out both the general rights extending to citizens in general and those of specific groups including children, the youth and persons with disabilities. The mini bill of rights for children is set out at article 53. Some key aspects of the new law on children are highlighted in this article.

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Does the new Tanzanian Law of the Child Act, 2009 prohibit corporal punishment?

Section 13 of the Tanzanian Children Act provides that no person may subject a child to ‘torture or other cruel, inhuman punishment or degrading treatment including any cultural practice that dehumanizes or is injurious to the physical and mental well being of a child’. The section further removes the justification of reasonableness where in view of a child’s physical and mental condition, age or capacity to understand the purpose of the correction, the punishment in question can be deemed unreasonable. The section defines ‘dehumanizing’ as the intention of humiliating or lowering the dignity of the child.

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Kenya progress on amending its children’s laws

In April 2010, the Children’s Rights Project of the Community Law Centre in conjunction with UNICEF Kenya organised a workshop on the amendment of the Kenya Children Act of 2001. The workshop was the result of a process of reforms on the Act which began in 2006 under the auspices of the Kenya Law Reform Commission (KLRC). The amendments proposed by the KLRC were forwarded to the Attorney General (AG) for finalisation culminating in the Children Law Amendment Bill of 2007. However in view of the continued contributions and proposals for consideration, KLRC requested the AG to suspend the finalization of the Bill.

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SA implements new laws on child rights

After the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC), the government of South Africa set out to domesticate these international treaties into legalisation. After countless debates in its national parliament and with incredible input from non-government organisations, South Africa enacted a new Children’s Act 38 of 2005 and a Children’s Amendment Act 41 of 2007. This legislation amends the previous Child Care Act, which was enacted before South Africa ratified the UNCRC and the ACRWC. With that, the legislature also enacted a completely new justice system for children in conflict with the law, known as the Child Justice Act 75 of 2008.

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