Criticality of saving Internally Displaced Children in the Aftermath of Post-Election Violence (PEV) in Kenya

by Tushar Kanti Saha
Mount Kenya University

Focus Summary

Disasters, displacement and deprivation are common experience of humanity. However, human induced and human made disasters are distasteful and disparaging. People in Africa are continually devastated by human made disasters of political, ethnic and genocidal atrocities committed by the mindless actors taking tolls on life telling untold miseries and manipulations. The children are caught in the crossfire of adult game.

The victims of all these events are also impacted by political fluid unleashed by electoral violence that happened in Kenya. The children suffered most in this theatre of violence orchestrated by the criminal minds which are at loggerheads with the justness of democratically held election results.

The children affected by PEV in Kenya are a class by itself. UNICEF estimates that the current violence in Kenya has displaced 100,000 children, at least 75,000 of whom are living in IDP camps across the country. Children residing in displaced environment had been more affected than the adults apart from the instances of gang rape, forced prostitution (evidenced by UN Report), poor or no schooling, nutrition, companionship and socialisation which had become part of life.

Key Insights

  • Violence after election is avoidable. Child victim of violence is further avoidable.
  • Whenever families are displaced or disturbed, children bear burden of all kinds of deprivations.
  • Kenya’s experience is particularly distasteful in view of the fact that it arose out of disputed election results and not out land or any other ethnicity related issues.
  • Child rights issues and “best interest” of the children are forgotten in this new world. All relevant national authorities, including the military and the police, receive training on the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement of children.

Key take-outs from the ISHHR 2017 Conference (industry feedback, networking, peer presentations):

Yes. Smuggling/Trafficking in Children from Camp sites are not particularly insulated. The need for international Convention covering trafficking in Children for recruitment as child soldiers is emphasized.

Future goals — what’s next?

Follow up on the events in Kenya arising out of re-election process as ordered by the Supreme Court of Kenya.

How can local / national / international media better assist in bringing the vital issues discussed at ISHHR 2017 to light, and further encourage real, positive change and understanding?

Children’s issues should be focused and highlighted more vigorously in future ocurrenes of violence affecting children’s life, schooling and companionship.