NAIROBI, Kenya, May 11 – The Judiciary has called for wider consultations on the moratorium on adoptions of children by foreigners.
Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Atieno Amadi said the Judiciary would therefore be initiating dialogue with the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Services on the legal implications.
“The legal effect of that moratorium is something that we need to think about and approach the Ministry concerned from a position that has been taken through consultations with everybody that is concerned with child justice issues,” she said.
Amadi was responding to the convener of the Law Society of Kenya’s Child Law Practitioners Committee Rose Mbanya’s complaint that the moratorium is compromising the welfare of many a disadvantaged child.
“There are a lot of children that are now stuck in homes because of the rather unclear situation that has been caused by this moratorium.
We’re all for children getting loving places that they can grow, we’re all for as many local families doing that, but with the uncertainty that has been caused by this situation, even locals have sort of taken a step back,” she explained.
It is not the first time the Law Society of Kenya has expressed opposition to the moratorium. In February, LSK CEO Apollo Mboya said the Cabinet did not possess the power to suspend the law governing inter-country adoptions.
Late last year, the Cabinet explained the moratorium as a decision taken to guard against child trafficking.
Amadi and Mbanya were speaking at the launch of a children court users’ committee (CUC) at the Milimani Law Courts. The committee is charged with bringing such court user concerns such as the moratorium to the attention of policy makers.
Another concern that came up during the launch as concerns the delivery of justice to minors is the shortage of lawyers — willing or able — to represent, probono, minors charged with criminal offences.
Appellate Court Justice Martha Koome took on Amadi in this respect arguing that there is no reason for such a problem to exist and persist:
“I’ve heard many speakers say that we do not have legal aid although it is provided for in the law. I do not know what has stopped the Chief Registrar from budgeting for this aspect the same way you budget for probono for murder cases or robbery with violence appeals, why haven’t you budgeted for legal aid for children?” she challenged.