Saturday, June 6, 2009

Child abduction Un-checked in Kenya

An opinion by Eric Sindabi

ACCORDING to the United Nations child abduction is classified under child abuse chapters.However the laws of our country lack clauses that criminalize this vice. Interestingly also local stakeholders on the advocacy against child abuse have failed to investigate these silent crimes on children.

Parental Child abduction thus is the most prevalent mode of child abuse in our midst. It arises when one parent or other forces adamantly retains a child from the other parent’s care.

Psychotherapy, behavioral and mental health research shows that victims of parental abduction undergo psychological effects. In Kenya mainly fathers and their children suffer from these conditions. Reactive attachment that shapes negative behaviors involves the varied effects that arise upon abrupt detachment of a child from a parent.

In our societies in Kenya most perpetrators of child abduction involves women and their parents and other relatives. Extortion in terms of undue financial gains and blackmails for payment of dowry are some of the root causes of parental child abduction crimes that go un-checked. Indeed the courts are full of cases where women are seeking to benefit from men simply because they are in custody of children.

Kenyan laws that seek to protect children who law deems “innocent” can be cited under the children act (cap 586) and the Matrimonial causes act (cap152).

According to the former, every child has a right to parental care that involves both parents. Every child also has a right to health care and a right for identity, education a right to be protected from harmful cultural rites among others. It is therefore rightly a child abuse crime for a parent or any other person to purposely conspire as of to derive the rights of a child in order to gain personal or group interests.

Children who are victims of child abduction suffer from identity crisis and mostly develop negative attitudes towards life. Some cultural rites like forced dowery through child abduction in some local communities in Kenya contribute to the harmful cultural rites being perpetrated against children.

Constitutional reforms consequently should address on the issue of child abuse and in particular the issue of child abduction. Ruining young lives for material exploitations should be against law in Kenya. Indeed in many states of the world this vice has not really been identified critically as a grave social ill attached to the fundamental human rights.
In particular, parental child abduction is tolerated under the blankets of marital laws. In many parts of the world such laws fail to critically recognize or identify the critical other side of the coin.

It pays little for example for a couple that is not committed to live together forever as of raising up an upright family, to be allowed to give birth to children. It is better for the law to give way to punish spouses who adamantly bring forth off springs that won’t get proper parental care.

It should be criminal for any person and especially mothers to take advantage of children custody provisions to deny them a full parental care as of for self gains.

The laws concerned should also take into account the fundamental human rights of the other victims of child abduction including mostly fathers and their extended families. It should be a crime to adamantly deny one parental love and care to a child. Critics say that law should be a fundamental human right but not a weapon.

This means that it should be a guideline to better lives to all but loopholes should not be left out for exploitation by some people in society.

The law according to the social critics should strive at creating a concrete society where ethics flourish society with crumbling ethical values is a dying society. Unethical practices that nurture up un-checked only but signify doom to human society.

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