Kenyan Governor signs declaration at Leiden University
On 6 September 2019, the Governor of Murang'a County, Mwangi wa Iria, signed a declaration at Leiden University to protect the rights of children.
The signing took place in the presence of Prof. Dr. Ton Liefaard, Vice Dean of Leiden Law School and UNICEF Chair of Children's Rights at Leiden University, Prof. Dr. Julia Sloth-Nielsen, Professor of Children's Rights in the Developing World, and Michelle Oliel of Stahili Foundation. 'We know that over 600 children in Murang'a County are separated from their families due to poverty, family illnesses, death, or other reasons', said Governor Wa Iria. 'This is not acceptable, and has to stop.'
The Governor's Declaration comes at an important time. This year, the United Nations General Assembly Resolution on the Rights of the Child will focus on children without parental care. This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children and the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
In this ground-breaking declaration known as The Leiden Declaration, Governor Wa Iria sets out a series of major commitments to protect children by instituting resourced care reforms as an integral part of priorities in Murang'a County. These efforts include strengthening the social work force, establishing a children’s office and and an ombudsperson as well as enacting a children’s bill to enhance protection, among others.
'Under Governor Wa Iria's leadership, Murang'a County has become a leader in Kenya, enacting the first piece of children’s rights legislation at the county level', said Ton Liefaard. 'This commitment recognizes that there is more to be done.'