International Child Protection: The Case Of The Un Children’s Fund (unicef) In Syria And Kenya, 2001- 2012
Muriithi , Mary S
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International child protection has been a subject of debate and concern since the 1920s after the First Word War. This motivated the drafting and adoption of the first international law on child rights, the Declaration on the Rights of the Child 1924. Further efforts lead to an updated Declaration in 1959 and a substantial, efficient one in 1989, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The UN went ahead to create an international organization to advocate for children‘s rights globally, the United Nations Children‘s Fund (UNICEF). Consequently the UN affiliate has established a physical presence in many countries; concentrating highly on developing countries. Kenya and Syria are one of those countries which have hosted and worked with UNICEF for more than 20 years. This particular study was guided by an overall objective, to critically analyze the role of UNICEF in international child protection in Syria and in Kenya from 2001- 2012. Specifically to provide an overview of the child protection situation, to investigate challenges faced by UNICEF and to explore some of the key child protection issues of concern in the two States. Notably liberal institutionalism stands out as a very relevant theory to this study. It elaborates the importance and crucial necessity of international organizations like the one applied in this study (UNICEF) in States‘ relations. Seemingly, States are more capable of handling critical issues (like child protection) through the combined efforts of institutions hence achieving greater results; for example developing international laws and structures to protect children. The research methodology in this study utilized both primary and secondary methods of data collection. The secondary data was acquired through books, journals, reports, conventions, declarations and articles. The primary data was attained through interviews which involved UNICEF, NCCS, Department of children services, ANPPCAN and World Vision officials and children. The key findings revealed that UNICEF is faced with several challenges that derail or hinder its efforts in Kenya and Syria. The challenges are inclusive of inadequate funds, poverty, conflict, poor implementation of policies, different ideologies between actors etc. Nonetheless both States have made considerable efforts to improve their national child protection mechanisms and laws, with Kenya having an upper hand through an early in the century ratification and domestication of the UNCRC.