At Human Rights Council, 35 States call for increased support to the Global Study

On 10 March 2017, Mr. Reinout Vos, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of the Kindgom of the Netherlands, with the support of 34 other Member States, delivered a statement before the UN Human Rights Council, calling for scaling up support, in particular financial support, to the UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty.

The statement is available hereunder (final version, made available on the Extranet of the UN Human Rights Council):

Mr. President,

I have the honour to read this statement on behalf of a group of 35 States.[1]

The central pledge of the Sustainable Development Goals is to “leave no one behind” and to reach those furthest behind first. Children deprived of liberty belong to those who are most often forgotten. It is a phenomenon which is understudied and low on the public agenda. To date, quantitative as well qualitative data on children’s detention is scarce. We do not know enough about the exact numbers, nor the reasons for detention, the institutions where children are detained, nor the conditions of detention of children worldwide.

International human rights law, however, and in particular the Convention on the Rights of the Child, is very clear: a child’s deprivation of liberty is to be a last resort, used for the shortest period of time and States are to apply non-custodial alternative measures that are in the best interests of the child aiming at his or her rehabilitation and reintegration. We also know that deprivation of liberty has negative consequences for the child’s harmonious development, is exposing children to increased risks of violence, stigma and social discrimination, and often risks amounting to denial of human rights such as the right to education and access to health services.

In this light, we welcome the decision by the General Assembly in December 2014, to request an in depth Study on Children Deprived of Liberty (A/RES/69/157 para.51.d). We note with appreciation the establishment of the UN Task Force on Children Deprived of Liberty and the appointment of Professor Manfred Nowak as Independent Expert to lead the Study. We pledge to support the Independent Expert in the exercise of his mandate until the completion of the Study and we urge all Member States to do the same, including by supporting the implementation of the Study.

The Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty presents a unique opportunity to address the lack of quantitative and qualitative data on the vulnerable situation of children deprived of liberty. It is also a tool for Member States to facilitate the implementation of SDGs 16.1, 16.2 and 16.3, 16.6 and 16.9. These SDG’s call for reducing all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere; for ending abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children as well as for promoting the rule of law and ensuring equal access to justice. They call for effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels and for the provision of a legal identity to all children, including birth registration.

Based on sound evidence and reliable data, the Study will collect best practices and provide concrete recommendations for law, policy and practice to support Member States’ effective implementation of international laws and standards, such as the UN Model Strategies and Practical Measures on the Elimination of Violence against Children in the Field of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, as well as of the 2030 Agenda, with a view to reduce the number of children deprived of liberty through effective non-custodial alternatives.

To this effect, the countries supporting this statement call upon all Member States, UN agencies and other relevant stakeholders to pledge and provide adequate support including through financial contributions in order to allow for an effective carrying out of the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty. We urge Member States to collaborate and coordinate together with the UN Task Force on Children deprived of Liberty, relevant UN agencies, civil society organizations, academia and children themselves to implement the Study and to ultimately ensure the respect for human rights of children. We need to live up to the 2030 Agenda’s pledge of leaving no one behind.

[1] The Netherlands on behalf of: Uruguay, Romania, Switzerland, Philippines, Slovenia, Denmark, Georgia, Portugal, Montenegro, Monaco, Croatia, Sweden, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Turkey, Namibia, Bulgaria, Malta, Iceland, Madagascar, United Kingdom, Algeria, Hungary, Macedonia, Canada, Cyprus, Italy, Finland, Poland, Slovakia, Peru, Mongolia, Mexico and Germany.

  • March 15, 2017
  • News

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