Children Act 2022: Kenya confirms constitutional prohibition of corporal punishment of children

With the enactment of the Children Act 2022Kenya has formally repealed the right of parents and others to "administer reasonable punishment" to children. The right to administer reasonable punishment became de facto ineffective when the Constitution of 2010 explicitly prohibited corporal punishment of "every person" (section 29) and overruled any law inconsistent with its provisions (section 2 (4)).

However, until the adoption of the Children Act 2022, even though corporal punishment of children was prohibited in all settings, the common law right to punish children had not been formally repealed. With the new law, Kenya explicitly confirms that corporal punishment shall not be inflicted upon a child by "any person" (section 25 (3) (b) (c)).  

The Government of Kenya therefore reiterates its commitment to fulfill its international and regional human rights obligations to eliminate all forms of violence against children in all settings, as in target 16.2 of the Sustainable Development Goals. 

To date,10 African states have realised children's rights to protection from all corporal punishment and many more are committed to doing so. However, a large number of children in Africa and beyond are still not protected from violent punishment. We therefore call on all remaining governments to enact prohibition and implement prohibiting laws, as a matter of urgency.    

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The new Children Act 2022 signed by President Uhuru Kenyatta takes effect on July 26 2022