KENYA: Government submits mid-term progress report on the UPR

Summary: The government of Kenya has submitted a mid-term progress report, updating the Human Rights Council on the progress being made to implement the recommendations issued in its first review.

What is a mid-term report?
States are encouraged to voluntarily submit update reports on the steps they are taking to implement the recommendations made to them during their reviews.

In addition to posting the full mid-term report (see above), CRIN has extracted the children's rights recommendations accepted by Kenya, together with the government's response on how they are implementing the recommendations.


Implementation progress on accepted recommendations
Kenya commented on the following accepted recommendations: 


58. Intensify its efforts to humanize its penitentiary system

11 additional prisons have been constructed since 2010 and all old prisons have been and are still being continuously refurbished

All (55,000) prisoners have been provided with new uniforms and a balanced diet

Toilets facilities improved in all prisons

All female (3,000) prisoners are provided with sanitary towels

Every prison has a health facility with a medical officer within the prison and outside to cater for the community. There is a mental unit in kamiti and some prison patients are referred to Mathari. Since 2010 medical personnel have been recruited and other personnel are referred to prisons by the ministry of health. Recruitment is still ongoing.

All prisons including remand homes have recreational facilities

There are about 388 children countrywide who are benefitting a special diet and primary education.

The Judiciary and the Probation Department have achieved a tremendous decrease of congestion in prisons through the use of Community Service Orders provided for under the Community Service Orders Act. In addition, under the Power of Mercy Act (2011) the President on the advice of the Advisory Committee can amongst others, pardon or postpone the carrying out of punishment: remit all or part of a punishment. It should be noted that, the constitution gives the power of mercy to the president but he works with the committee of experts which is independent, this is provided under article 133 of the constitution.


71. Adopt and implement measures necessary to address the needs and challenges of juveniles in prison custody, including raising the minimum age of crime responsibility, in line with international standards

The ongoing prisons reforms resulted in the separation of juvenile offenders from adults in the detention centres. The juvenile justice system has been improved further by the establishment of juvenile courts in most areas of the country. The magistrates are specifically trained to handle children’s matters and are posted to the courts whose environment is child friendly.

In partnership with the civil society the police stations have children’s desks which are friendly to the children. A Child Justice Bill (2011) has been developed to enhance juvenile justice system in the country.


2. Strictly ensure that the death penalty is not imposed for children, and declare an official moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty

In the fulfilment of the Constitutional right of a fair trial, the courts now grant bail even in capital offences.

The Constitution establishes an Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy which has the function of advising the President where a person has been sentenced to death (otherwise than by a court-martial) for an offence on the exercise of powers. The Advisory Committee may take into account the views of the victims of the offence in respect of which it is considering making recommendations to the president.

There have been no capital punishments carried out during the review period.

The KNCHR has commenced a survey on the effects of capital punishment with a view to using the results for engagement with the public on the desirability of its abolition.


40. Review its national laws so that they fully uphold the principle of nondiscrimination, in particular on grounds of gender, personal status and citizenship

The National Gender and Equality Commission

This Commission is expected to spearhead the processes that will ensure that Kenya is able to fully implement this loaded recommendation. The Commission has the mandate, among others to:

  • promote gender equality and freedom from discrimination in accordance with Article 27 of the Constitution;
  • monitor, facilitate and advise on the integration of the principles of equality and freedom from discrimination in all national and county policies, laws, and administrative regulations in all public and private institutions;
  • act as the principal organ of the State in ensuring compliance with all treaties and conventions ratified by Kenya relating to issues of equality and freedom from discrimination and relating to special interest groups including minorities and marginalized persons, women, persons with disabilities, and children;
  • co-ordinate and facilitate mainstreaming of issues of gender, persons with disability and other marginalised groups in national development and to advise the Government on all aspects thereof; and
  • monitor, facilitate and advise on the development of affirmative action implementation policies as contemplated in the Constitution.

Review of the Laws on Citizenship

The Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act, 2011 has gone a long way in addressing certain issues of discrimination that were a matter of concern with the earlier legislation on Immigration matters. The current law operationalises the constitutional provisions relating to non discrimination on passing of citizenship by parents to their children and the possibility of dual citizenship. If provides among others:

  • A person born outside Kenya shall be a citizen by birth if on the date of the birth that person’s mother or father was or is a citizen by birth.
  • A citizen of Kenyan by birth who acquires the citizenship of another country shall be entitled to retain the citizenship of Kenya subject to the provisions of this Act and the limitations, relating to dual citizenship, prescribed in the Constitution.

The Kenya Citizens and Foreign Nationals Management Service Act, 2011

This Act is intended to ensure that there is coherence in the registration of all personal matters that require registration. The Act provides for the creation and maintenance of a national Kenya Citizens and Foreign Nationals Management Service population register and the administration of the laws relating to births and deaths, identification and registration of citizens, immigration and refugees; administration of the laws relating to marriages and for connected purposes.


54. Adopt legislation and a coherent national policy criminalizing female genital mutilation

The government has enacted, The Prohibition of female Genital mutilation Act, 2011 which criminalizes this practice. This act provides new opportunities for eradication of FGM. The act empowers chiefs and children’s officers to enter into places without warrant to ascertain whether such, a crime has been or is about to be committed. It further stipulates that culture and religion cannot be used as an excuse to perform the procedure.

The act distinguishes female circumcision from medical, surgical procedures connected to child birth and surgery that is essential for the physical or mental health of a woman as well as surgical procedures performed for therapeutic purposes.

The act criminalises:

  • Aiding and abetting of women and girls and procuring of a person to perform the cut.
  • Taking a Kenyan to another country for and bringing another person to Kenya for circumcision.
  • Allowing premises for which you are responsible to be used for circumcision.
  • Being found in possession of tools or equipments for the cut.
  • Knowing that someone has the intention of performing the cut and falling to report to the authorities.
  • Any Kenyan citizen who undergoes FGM outside the country is also liable for prosecution.

The act establishes an anti-FGM board with the core mandate of designing, supervising and coordinating public a awareness programs against the practice of FGM.


70. Raise the age of criminal responsibility in order to bring it into line with international standards

The Children’s Act was enacted in 2001 and seeks to enhance the welfare of children in Kenya. The Act gives effect to the provisions of the International Convention on the Right of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. The provisions of the Act have been implemented fully.

In 2010 the government embarked on a holistic review of the Children's’ Act, to bring its provisions in line with constitutional and generally accepted international standards. As a result, The Children’s Act (Amendment bill) 2011, which proposes a number of modifications to the Children’s Act was prepared. One of the changes sought is the raising of the age of criminal responsibility from eight to twelve years.

Parliament is now in the process of passing a high number of pending constitutional bills and the Children’s Act (amendment bill) 2011 has been lined up for prompt attention.


86. Further promote the law on the minimum age of marriage at 18 years

Under Article 45 (2) of the Kenyan Constitution, only an adult has the right to marry a person of the opposite sex, based on the free consent of the parties. Section 2 of the Age of Majority Act, further provides that a person shall be of full age and cease to be under any disability by reason of age on attaining the age of 18 years. This means that it is only upon attainment of the age of eighteen does a person, whether man or women shed all legal disabilities and may enter into any legal transaction including marriage.


47. Undertake more effective measures to address the problems of impunity, violence and trafficking in women and girls, including through the strengthening of law enforcement and the judicial system and intensive media and education programmes aimed at increasing public awareness on the rights of women

59. Adopt a comprehensive national policy aimed at the fight against child prostitution and the trafficking of children

Collection of comprehensive gender statistics to track progress

The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development has in conjunction with Kenya’s National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) undertaken number of key initiatives aimed at informing planning and budgeting processes in a manner that will ensure they address the status of women and girls in the social, political and economic spheres:

Creation of a Gender department within the KNBS: This department has been tasked with generating gender statistics in support of broad-based and targeted development programmes and initiatives. This department has been analyzing and disaggregating the Kenya Population and Housing Census data by sex. The department also works with the ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development in compiling data towards the Africa Gender Development Index which looks at a broad range of quantitative and qualitative data under three blocks- social, political and economic.

Kenya Gender Data Sheet. The ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development has with support from KNBS, developed a data sheet which contains gender-specific statistics and data disaggregated by sex at the level of administrative districts, i.e. population of persons of child-bearing age, of the youth and elderly persons; households by the sex of the household head, life expectancy, mean age at first marriage; under-5 mortality rates, primary school gross enrolment, primary to secondary transition rates, labour force participation rates, membership of cooperative societies; households with access to safe drinking water by sex of household head among others. In addition to tracking progress these statistics are helpful in identifying problem areas for targeted interventions.


The Counter Trafficking in Persons Act passed in 2010 domesticates the Palermo Protocols (The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children and Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air ). The Act is the first comprehensive piece of legislation that deals exclusively with the issue of trafficking and all its elements. It provides a framework within which the victims of trafficking can be protected.

The government has held campaigns to create awareness among hotels and tour operators on the evils of child prostitution and child sex tourism. Hoteliers and other actors in the tourist sector have been encouraged to sign the Code of Conduct against Child prostitution.

Many hotels in the coastal towns have now signed the code of conduct that seeks to prevent abuse of children in their hotels. In addition, key stakeholders, notably police investigators, prosecutors, and community leaders have been sensitized and trained particularly under the Sexual Offences Act on how to investigate, and prosecute trafficking cases. This reinforces the Employment Act of 2007, which outlaws child trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation, promoting child sex tourism, child prostitution and child pornography. The minimum penalty for child trafficking is a fine and 10 years of imprisonment. The minimum penalty for sex trafficking is a fine, 15 years of imprisonment, or both.

The implementation of the Children’s Act has also had positive effects in the protection of children against their trafficking and abduction. There is now statistical data on the number of children abducted and trafficked, therefore making it possible to have specific interventions.


7. Extend an open and standing invitation to all special procedures, and sign and ratify the Optional Protocols to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), and sign and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (CED) and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (OP-CRC-SC)

The ratification of all treaties and protocols in Kenya await the enactment of a comprehensive legislative framework for the signing, ratification and accession of treaties, protocols and other instruments by Kenya. This follows the provisions of the new Constitution which gives exclusive power to the National Assembly to make laws. The Constitution of Kenya, 2010 provides that any treaties ratified by Kenya form part of the laws of Kenya. The proposed legislation provides the necessary procedures that must be undertaken before a treaty is ratified signed or acceded to by the Government.


109. Strengthen its educational policy to guarantee the required quality of education, accessible to all members of its population, especially the marginalized and most vulnerable groups

Protection of most vulnerable groups

The Government of Kenya through its Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development developed a National Plan of Action (2007-2013) on Orphans and Vulnerable Children( OVC) which helps to strengthen the capacity of families to protect and care for OVCs, provide economic, psychosocial and other forms of social support, as well as mobilize and support community based responses to increase OVCs access to essential services such as food and nutrition, education, health care, housing, water and sanitation. A key aspect of the policy is the provision of a direct predictable and regular cash subsidy of Kshs 1,500 per month to households caring for OVC. The program is in its second year of implementation.


110. Develop education policies that ensure quality education, particularly for the poor, marginalized and vulnerable segments of its population, and request international assistance to that end

111. Formulate an educational policy aimed at combating illiteracy, with particular emphasis on the education of the girl child

113. Continue to develop programmes and measures aimed at ensuring quality and free education and health services for its population

126. Seek the support of the international community and cooperate with it to formulate policies aimed at further broadening access to free and compulsory education, particularly for children from poor households

The Constitution, 2010 has provided for right to Education as a human right to every Kenyan child. A Task Force on the alignment of the Education Sector to the new Constitution and Vision 2030 was constituted in 2011 and mandated to review the current education system to ensure that the it is in tandem with the current global trends in education, the Constitution and Vision 2030 in order to make the Kenyan education system globally competitive and market driven.

The Task Force reviewed the education system and proposed strategies to:

  • address policy, content and governance issues in education;
  • address challenges related to access, quality, equity, relevance, wastage and efficiency;
  • the development of a national education master plan,
  • the review of the Education Act,
  • the development of a policy on education; and
  • and establishment of a Education Reform Implementation Committee (EdRIC) to drive the reform process.

Policies on education

The Government is in the process of implementing the Task Force recommendations. A draft Policy Framework for Education that aligns Education and Training to the Constitution of Kenya (2010) and Kenya Vision 2030 and beyond has already been developed.

Other recommendations already realized include: The Kenya Sessional Paper on Education, 2012 which has been finalized and will soon be tabled in Cabinet; the Teachers Service Commission Bill, 2012 has been approved by Cabinet. It will be published for tabling in Parliament shortly; and the Education Bill, 2012 which has been finalized and is going through stakeholder consultations.

The Government is also in the process of reviewing the education sector policies with the aim of aligning them with the new constitution to make them implementable frameworks with the devolved governments. These include:

  • Gender in Education policy which aims at eliminating gender disparities and achieving gender equity and equality in relation to access, retention, completion and transition in primary and secondary education by 2015.
  • The Early Childhood Development Education Policy (ECDE) whose intention is to mainstream ECDE into primary school cycle so that no child is left out of basic education.
  • The HIV and AIDS policy which recognizes that although the ministry has domesticated the National HIV and AIDS policy AIDS continues to be a threat to education achievements. An impact assessment on HIV and AIDS has been undertaken and the results once disseminated to stakeholders, will inform the policy review.

Child Friendly Schools (CFS)

The school is a significant personal and social environment in the lives of its students. The Government has ensured that the education environments are safe, healthy and protective and are endowed with trained teachers, adequate resources and appropriate physical, emotional and social conditions for learning. It further accepts that schools shall respond to diversity by meeting differing circumstances and needs of children based on gender, social class, ethnicity and level of ability

Construction of new schools

Further in order to increase access to education 420 new primary schools have been constructed across the country.

Mobile schooling

Mobile schooling is a key strategy in the nomadic areas of Kenya, enabling children to access education even in nomadic lifestyles. To improve the quality of learning, 20 mobile schools have been constructed and equipped with basic learning materials, such as books/

Access to education.

The government has taken steps through the formulation of the education policy to ensure access to education by both the girl and boy child. However, statistics show that although the number of girls enrolling in primary school is on the increase, the trend decreases after completion of primary school and fewer girls enrol in secondary schools. This is due to various reasons such as poverty, early marriages, lack of sanitary pads and in some instances of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The enactment of the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act, 2011 which criminalizes this practice will go a long way in eradicating the practise.

Early marriages

The Constitution of Kenya forbids harmful cultural practices and prohibits early marriages by directing espouse that marriage will only be between consenting adults.

Provision of sanitary pads to all primary school girls

The Government introduced Free Day Secondary Education in 2008. Since then enrollment has increased from 800, 000 to 1.7 million students in 2012. As a result the transition rate from primary to secondary has risen from 47% in 2003 to 72.5% in 2012 .This is above the UNESCO benchmark of 70%. However despite the remarkable increases in access at primary and secondary school, statistics show that a big proportion of girls are left out. Studies have shown that one of the reasons why girls miss classes or drop out altogether is maturation or the onset of puberty.

It is due to this realization that the Government introduced the sanitary towels programme starting in the financial \year 2011/2012 and expected to be a continuing programme in the subsequent financial years. The Government allocated the Ministry of Education Ksh. 240 Million in the Financial Year 2011/2012 for provision of sanitary towels. This will benefit 443,858 girls in public primary drawn from 82 targeted districts.


112. Develop and implement a specific education policy which would cover all children with special needs

The National Special Education Policy Framework

A Special Needs Education (SNE) policy framework was launched by the government of Kenya, in 2010. The policy addresses how the government will work with stakeholders to transition to an inclusive education approach in line with Education for All by 2015.

The Policy Framework addresses critical issues related to education for learners with special needs. It provides a framework that is essential to guide the work of all actors involved in provision of special needs education to ensure consistency and a coordinated implementation. The policy is important in the elimination of disparities and enhancement of equity and equality for all learners, especially inclusion of learners with special needs and disabilities in the education system. According to the school mapping data set there are 3,464 special needs institutions (38.2% ECDE, 3.4% NFE, 54.1% primary and 4.3% Secondary) in the country with 2,713 integrated institutions and 751 Special Schools.

However the full implementation of the policy has been hampered by several factors: Lack of resources to enable registration to be done within a specified timeframe; Stigmatization – parents especially in rural areas still hide their children in some counties and do not take them to school; and lack of specialized teachers.

The government has however initiated a number of awareness campaigns to sensitize communities on the value of education for those with special needs.

Special needs institutions

According to the school mapping data set there are 3,464 special needs institutions (38.2% ECDE, 3.4% NFE, 54.1% primary and 4.3% Secondary) in the country with 2,713 integrated institutions and 751 Special Schools. . Among these, there are 10 public secondary schools for learners with hearing impairments, 3 for learners with physical handicaps and 4 for learners with visual impairments making a total of 17 secondary schools for learners with disabilities throughout Kenya. These figures show that access and participation of children with special needs is relatively low across the country.

The emphasis on academic performance and examinations creates an unfavourable learning environment for children with special needs and disabilities and even moderate learning difficulties. This poses a challenge to the integration and inclusion of children with such disabilities in regular schools.

To address these challenges the government A Special Needs Education (SNE) policy framework has now been launched by the government of Kenya. The policy addresses how the government will work with stakeholders to transition to an inclusive education approach in line with Education for all by 2015.


98. Pursue the implementation of the national programmes for alleviating poverty and improving living conditions, which will result in improvements in the lives of Kenyan children

The government has put great emphasis on the right to accessible and adequate housing as enshrined in the Constitution. The Government has thus developed long term initiatives to improve livelihoods of Kenyans through facilitation of access to affordable and adequate housing in sustainable human settlements.

The housing development initiatives by the Ministry of Housing are currently at different implementation stages, particularly; the Appropriate Building Technology Programme, Slum Upgrading, Civil Servants Housing Scheme, Housing Infrastructure, and Government Estate Management. So far, funding allocation for housing development towards the implementation of mentioned programmes and projects increased to about Kshs.2.3 billion in the financial year 2010/2011.

National Housing Survey

The Ministry constituted the National Housing Survey Joint Steering Committee to spearhead preparations for the National Housing Survey within the 2011/2012 financial year. This is aimed at obtaining the actual statistics to guide sector policies, regulations and development. The survey process is on course with the pilot survey having been undertaken in the months of February and March 2012.

The Housing Bill

A draft Housing Bill has been developed. The objective of the Bill is to provide for the effective coordination, facilitation and monitoring of the housing and human settlements sector; to provide for capacity building within the housing sector; to establish the Kenya Housing Authority and the National Housing Development Fund for the provision of the right to accessible and adequate housing under Article 43(1)(b) of the Constitution.

Utilization of appropriate building materials and technologies (ABTS)

Building materials account for approximately 60% of the total building costs. Ministry of Housing is promoting Appropriate Building Technologies in order to lower construction cost, improve quality of housing, enhance speed of delivery and achieve environmentally friendly constructions. ABTs, more so, Interlocking Stabilized Soil Blocks (ISSBs) can reduce costs by up to 50% of the cost of materials thereby reducing the overall building cost. Utilization of ABTs thus benefits both home owners and investors in terms of huge cost savings. So far, the Ministry has established one Regional Appropriate Building Technology Centre at Mavoko, 9 Provincial Centres and 52 Constituency Centres. According to Kenya Vision 2030, there will be gradual establishment of Appropriate Building Technology Centres in all Constituencies by the year 2030.

Approved housing sector incentives

The Government has approved a number of incentives, including tax incentives aimed at attracting investment from the private sector. These are intended to further spur growth in the housing sector and to encourage partnerships.

Ongoing Housing Projects

The housing component of Slum Upgrading Programme involves facilitating the slum dwellers to access decent shelter. To this end, Langata decanting site has been developed to allow for relocation of residents in slums to pave way for redevelopment.

The programme had relocated about 1800 households from the Kibera Soweto to Langata Decanting site to pave way for redevelopment. The redevelopment works comprising construction of blocks of flats, 5- storeys high comprising 1,500 No. one, two and three -roomed self- contained housing units and associated physical and social infrastructure was officially launched on 6th March 2012 by the President of Kenya. The works are expected to be completed by August 2014.

Kenya Informal Settlement Improvement Programme ( KISIP)

The programme is now at implementation stage having been launched in June 2011. The programme will undertake tenure regularization and installation of social and physical infrastructure in informal settlements in the following towns; Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru, Eldoret, Malindi, Naivasha, Kitui, Machakos, Thika, Nyeri, Garissa, Kericho, Kakamega, Embu. A number of consultants have been engaged to undertake preparatory activities before actual implementation starts.

Vulnerable households

Over 170,000 poor vulnerable households are benefitting from cash transfer programme (120,000) households under the OVC Programme,

33,000 households under the Older Persons Programme and 14,700 under the Disability Fund).


94. Redouble its efforts to save mother and child

92. Improve access to reproductive health services for pregnant women

The Government launched a Child Survival and development Strategy as an effort to accelerate child survival and provide a framework to improve indicators for children. The strategy is guided by the National Health Sector Strategic Plan II (NHSSP II) and the Vision 2030 Medium Term Plan that aim to reduce inequalities in the health care services and improve on the child health indicators.

In addition, the Ministry of Public and Sanitation has prioritized malaria control through the National Health Sector Strategic Plan (NHSSPII) and mandated the Division of Malaria Control (DOMC) to coordinate the implementation of the National Malaria Strategy. In collaboration with partners, the government has also developed the 8-year Kenyan National Malaria Strategy (KNMS) 2009-2017 which was launched on 4th November 2009.

The National Malaria Strategy covering the period 2009–2017 has been developed in line with the Government's first Medium-Term Plan of the Kenya Vision 2030, Millennium Development Goals, as well as Roll Back Malaria partnership goals and targets for malaria control. The National Malaria Strategy is based on and carries forward an inclusive partnership between the Ministries of Public Health and Sanitation and Medical Services, other line Ministries of the Government of Kenya, development partners and all implementing agencies in malaria control.

Immunization during childhood has been proven to be the most effective strategy for the prevention of many infectious diseases. WHO estimates that as many as 2.5 million deaths among under-5 children worldwide are averted annually by immunization against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and measles. In Kenya, the proportion of children aged 12-23 months that are reported to have received all recommended vaccinations is 77.4% however the proportion varies from region to region where some areas record lower levels of vaccination as compared to others.

North Eastern Province records 48.3% Central province 85.8% and in Nairobi 73% children in this age group are reported to have received the immunizations. However the percentage is lower in the slum areas.

Parental age, marital status, level of education and poor knowledge about vaccinations are significantly associated with completion of the immunization schedule by under-5 children. To mitigate this situation the government has embarked on awareness creation campaigns to train health workers, midwives, and parents on the importance of immunization and breast feeding.

The National Reproductive Health Policy and Strategy

The National Reproductive Health policy was adopted in 2007. The main theme of the policy is to enhance the reproductive health status of all Kenyans by increasing equitable access to reproductive health services; improve quality, efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery at all levels; and improving responsiveness to the client needs.

The overall goal of the Strategy covers the period 2009-2015 is to facilitate the operationalization of the National Reproductive Health Policy through a national multi sectoral approach.

The objectives of the Strategy are to:

  • Formulate strategies that will enable the achievement of the goal and objectives of the national reproductive health plicy
  • Identify priority ares and major implementers of the reproductive health programme
  • Identify resource mobilization strategies and facilitate and enhance effective management of a sustainable national reproductive health programme.

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