January 30 2008

Kenya: Children have the most to lose

30/01/2008 - Statement released by members of Child Line Kenya on the situation of children.

While politicians dispute, people demonstrate and security forces battle on the streets, it is the children of Kenya who have the most to lose.

Thousands of innocent children are suffering in displacement camps or on the streets, lacking the basic essentials of food, warmth and security - the right of every child.

Camping in the open, they are susceptible to sickness but lack access to basic health care. Many are prey to sexual exploitation and abuse, because their parents, killed or lost in the post-election chaos, cannot protect them. Traffickers become the next danger.

Some have been traumatised by watching their parents, siblings, friends and neighbours murdered with machetes, or gang raped. Others have been raped themselves. Who will comfort them when they go to sleep tonight?

Riots bring further danger. At least one child has been killed as he innocently played with friends - playing being the right of every child. More have been maimed in the cross fire. And, unless they are allowed to return to school, many will lose the chance of economic prosperity that is also their right.

The children of Kenya are not the future - they are the present. If we do not protect them today they will have no tomorrow. For their own social and economic stability they must be allowed to live as children again. We call on the Government of Kenya and all responsible parties involved in the current dispute to remember that children have the most to lose and to take the necessary measures to protect and care for them, so that they can enjoy the respect, security, love and dignity that is their undisputed right.

Statement released by members of Childline Kenya: SOS Children's Villages Kenya, Childline Kenya, Goal Kenya, Plan International Kenya, The Cradle, Hope World Wide, Kuna Tumaini Counselling Centre, Children's Legal Action Network (CLAN), ICT Policy Centre, Shangilia Mtoto wa Africa, Bosco Boys, Gender Violence Recovery Centre of Nairobi Women's Hospital, Naivasha Community Project