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UN recognizes Kenyan champion of children's rights to justice 

Nairobi, 28 October 2020 - The Chairperson of Kenya’s Special Task Force on Children Matters and Court of Appeal judge, the Honourable Lady Justice Martha Koome, was today recognized by the United Nations for her advocacy of the rights of children in the justice system.

Lady Justice Koome was announced as a runner-up in the 2020 UN in Kenya Person of the Year Award and presented with a Certificate of Commendation in a ceremony at the UN Office in Nairobi. 

This followed her joint nomination for the Award by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and UNICEF, and a multi-stage voting process involving the UN Country Team in Kenya. 

“We’re delighted that Justice Koome is being honoured for her leadership and advocacy concerning the rights of children who find themselves in the justice system. This is a well-deserved honour for a champion UNODC is proud to have a long association with through our technical support for the National Council on the Administration of Justice, the Judiciary and Department of Children Services,” the UNODC Regional Representative for Eastern Africa, Dr Amado Philip de Andrés said. 

“It’s even more special that Justice Koome is being recognized as part of the 75th anniversary celebrations for the UN, and that UNODC was able to lodge her nomination together with our friends at UNICEF,” Dr de Andrés said. 

Since 2002, the Award has been presented annually to commemorate UN Day on 24 October and honour an individual and/or an institution for succeeding to bring to public notice significant issues related to the Sustainable Development Goals which are sustainable and serve as an inspiration to all Kenyans, and in keeping with the ideals of the UN. 

The Awards ceremony was officiated by the Director-General of the UN Office, Mrs Zainab Hawa Bangura, the UN Resident Coordinator for Kenya, Mr Siddharth Chatterjee, the Cabinet Secretary for IT and Youth Affairs, Mr Joe Mucheru, and Senior Advisor in the Office of the President, Ms Ruth Kagia. 

“Lady Justice Honourable Martha Koome has lent her high profile to champion children’s rights in the justice system, centred on children in conflict with the law and child victims. We all know that children are the future of our humanity and it’s comforting to know that out there we have an ardent champion for their rights,” Cabinet Secretary Mucheru said. 

“Through Generation Unlimited, Kenya is working hard to ensure that issues affecting young people between the ages of 10 and 24 are addressed. You’ll notice that the winners or the wining ideas either touch on young people’s lives or have been executed by young people” Mr Mucheru added. 

The main Award went to 15 students from Kenyatta University who have designed a ventilator, inspired by the need to find solutions to health impacts of COVID-19, while the second runner-up was Ms Wawira Njiru, Director of Food 4 Education that distributes meals to school children.