The right to education for children in conflict situation: how responsive is Kenya?
Despite the importance of education there are approximately 72 million children out of school worldwide and more than half (37 million) live in conflict-affected and fragile states. Furthermore, an average of 750, 000 children have their education disrupted or halted due to humanitarian disasters each year. The right to quality education for children living in conflict affected regions has been greatly violated. It does not receive as much attention as other social economic rights. In Kenya’s arid and semi arid areas, where conflict has been persistent only 25% of children joining school complete their education and not within the stipulated period. The study established that most international treaties and conventions such as Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), International Covenant on Social Economic and Cultural Rights (ICSECR), The United Nations Conventions on Rights of a Child (CRC),Geneva Convention and its 3rdprotocol among others, obligates state parties to promote, fulfill and protect the right to education. Kenya is a signatory to the above international legal instruments, and has integrated them into the constitution and enacted the Basic Education Act which generally protects right to education. It has however, not realized the right to education for children in conflict situation in terms of availability, accessibility, adaptability and acceptable quality education. Majority of the children in conflict situations have difficulties accessing their right to education due to lack of practicable legal strategies to address: poverty, child labour, out-dated cultural practices such as early marriages, FGM among others. The sources of data were both secondary and primary, using mixed methods, questionnaires and interviews. A representative population of 165 was picked through random stratified sampling. The study integrated best interventions from Israel and South Africa. The recommendations are: Review of law and policies, employment of practical strategies in implementing the laws on the right to education, Judiciary to issue supervisory orders and purposive interpretation to issues. The research interrogates the international instruments and suggests approaches that fit the local situation in addressing the plight of children in conflict situations.