Do Children Have Any Rights?
Every child, like any other human being, has rights, which ought to be protected and respected. The family and the world at large have a duty to protect, respect and promote the rights of all children irrespective of their age, origin, status or any considerations. Children are equal universally. The Children's Act, sections 5-19 provides for this rights of the child. These rights include:-
a) Not to be subjected to discrimination on any ground whatsoever.
b) A child shall have a right to live with and to be cared for by his parents.
c) Every child shall be entitled to education.
d) Every child shall have a right to religious education subject to appropriate parental guidance.
e) Every child shall have a right to health and medical care.
f) Every child shall be protected from economic exploitation and any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child's education, or to be harmful to the child's health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.
g) Every child shall have a right to a name and nationality and where a child is deprived of his identity the Government shall provide appropriate assistance and protection, with a view to establishing his identity.
h) A disabled child shall have the right to be treated with dignity, and to be accorded appropriate medical treatment, special care, education and training free of charge or at a reduced cost whenever possible from harmful cultural rites.
i) A child shall be entitled to protection from physical and psychological abuse.
j) No person shall subject a child to female circumcision, early marriage or other cultural rites, customs or traditional practices that are likely to negatively affect the child's life, health, social welfare, dignity or physical or psychological development.
k) A child shall be protected from sexual exploitation and use in prostitution, inducement or coercion to engage in any sexual activity, and exposure to obscene materials.
l) A child shall be entitled to leisure, play and participation in cultural and artistic activities.
m) No child shall be subjected to torture, of cruel treatment or punishment, unlawful arrest or liberty, deprivation of liberty.
n) Every child shall have the right to privacy subject to parental guidance.
The Children's Act Further provides that “Notwithstanding penalties contained in any other law, where any person willfully or as a consequence of culpable negligence infringes any of the rights of a child as specified in sections 5 to 19 such person shall be liable upon summary conviction to a term of imprisonment not exceeding twelve months, or to a fine not exceeding fifty thousand shillings or to both such imprisonment and fine.”
Children can also be said to have rights to own property. Whenever people write wills, they allocate property to their children in the wills. They also appoint persons who can be guardians to the children and also who will manage the property on behalf of the children until the children come of age. It is the duty of the guardian therefore to make good use of the child's property, in a way that will benefit the child, since the property does not belong to them but rather to the child. In most cases however, most guardians and trustees misuse property that they are supposed to use to the benefit of the children/minors. They use the property for their own benefit and enrichment rather than that of the child.
This is against the law, as the law seeks to safeguard the property of the child. Section 110 of the Children’s act provides that, “Where a guardian of the estate of a child whether or not that guardian is also a guardian of the person of the child neglects to recover or safeguard, or misplaces any asset forming part of the estate of the child, or subjects the estate to loss or damage, he shall whether or not also guilty of an offence on that account, be liable to make good any loss or damage so occasioned.” This therefore means that if the guardian misuses the property of a minor, he/she shall be liable to make good/reimburse all the misappropriate amounts from the child's estate.
Further to that, section 111 of the Children’s act provides that, any guardian of the estate of a child who—
(a) Willfully or recklessly neglects to receive and safeguard any asset forming part of the estate, misapplies any such asset or subjects any such asset to loss, waste or damage; or
(b) willfully fails to produce to the court, or the parent or guardian of the child any account or inventory required by the provisions of section 102; or
(c) willfully or recklessly produces any such inventory or account which is false in any material particular, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable to a fine not exceeding fifty thousand shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both such fine and imprisonment.
Guardians of children should therefore guard the children's estate, and only use the estate to the best interest of the children, taking note of the punitive measures stipulated by the law.