©Juvenile Justice Advocates International (5)

Save the Date: October 10, 2018 – North American Regional Consultation for Civil Society

On October 10, 2018, the Columbia University’s Justice Lab is going to host a regional consultation for civil society in support of the United Nations Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty in New York City, United States of America. It will have the presence of the Independent Expert leading the Global Study, Professor Manfred Nowak, and several other experts in juvenile justice, including Melissa Sickmund, Director of the National Center for Juvenile Justice, Candice Jones, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Public Welfare Foundation, former Director of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice and Jennifer Nagda, Policy Director, Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights at the University of Chicago Law School.

The consultation will primarily focus on the deprivation of liberty of children in the administration of justice in the United States. It will address the harms caused to children, families, and communities when children are deprived of their liberty in the juvenile or criminal justice system. The intersection with the detention of children on the basis of their status as a migrant will also be discussed.

The aim of this regional consultation is to inform the UN Global Study and increase public awareness. It will provide the latest quantitative and qualitative research on children in conflict with the law in North America.  It will also present testimony from youth who have been confined in juvenile justice institutions or criminal justice jails and prisons. Most importantly, it will present a vision of an alternative justice system that responds to youth in developmentally appropriate and effective ways.

If you have any questions, please contact swcommunications@columbia.edu.

For more information click here.

Side-event (2)

Save the date: 25th October, 2018 – Regional Consultation, Uruguay

The Uruguayan government, in coordination with other international, regional and local organisations, including Defence for Children International-Uruguay and UNICEF, will host a regional consultation for the UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty on October 25th in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Government officials, regional child rights experts, and civil society representatives will participate in discussions of children deprived of their liberty in the administration of justice, institutions and for migration-related reasons as well as those detained with their parents. The representative of the Independent Expert, Professor Manfred Nowak is going to present the Global Study and engage in a discussion with government and official authorities, human rights institutions and civil society organisations.

The full agenda can be found here in Spanish.

We want to hear children's views

Call for NGOs to Hold Consultations on Children Deprived with Liberty

Do you work in an organization that works with or has direct contact with children deprived of liberty? If so, you are uniquely placed to contribute to be part of the child participation part of the United Nations Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty, as we look for information about children’s experiences, views and perspectives of deprivation of liberty in your country/-ies.

The Child Participation Working Group for is looking for organisations that can hold consultations with children deprived of liberty throughout October to feed into the Study. Fill out the survey here in English, French, and Spanish. Deadline: October 7, 2018.

Find more information here in English, French and Spanish.

For any queries, please contact: globalstudy@defenceforchildren.org


The NGO Panel delivers a statement at the UN Human Rights Council’s 39th session

On September 12, 2018, the International Catholic Child Bureau (BICE) delivered a statement on behalf of the NGO Panel for the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty, during the Interactive Dialogue with the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention at the UN Human Rights Council’s 39th session.

The NGO Panel took the opportunity to thank the Working Group for its extensive revision of deliberation No. 5 on the deprivation of liberty of migrants, especially for highlighting that the deprivation of liberty of asylum-seeking, refugees, stateless, and migrant children, including unaccompanied or separated children, is prohibited, and for highlighting the need for alternatives to detention.

In this respect, the NGO Panel called on States to support the Global Study by providing more quality, disaggregated data on children deprived of liberty and examples of alternatives to detention in their countries, participating in the upcoming consultations, and contributing with political and financial support.

Check the full written statement here and the delivery here (02:37:02).

At the Women's Prison in Petionville, 20-30 detainees cram into each prison cell where women and girls and young as 14 sleep on the floor, often in shifts, and the majority wait years to see a judge. More than 80% of all detainees in Haiti are being held in prolonged pretrial detention during which time inmates can wait between 4-6 years for their court case to be heard. 
Photo Victoria Hazou UN/MINUSTAH

UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women Calls for Submissions on Women and Girls Deprived of Liberty

The United Nations Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice is presenting a thematic report on women deprived of liberty at the 41st session of the UN Human Rights Council in June 2019. This report aims to take a comprehensive approach to the issue of women and girls deprived of liberty by including various forms of restriction or interference with women’s personal liberty or movement by state and non-state actors, including on the basis of their sex and prescribed gender roles. It will examine the causes, nature, and extent of the deprivation of liberty of women and girls, with particular attention to the impact of multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination against women and girls.

Therefore, the Working Group is calling for States and other stakeholders, including NGOs, to fill in a questionnaire (English, French, Spanish), as well as to send documents and reports of consultations with information on women deprived of liberty for submission for the Working Group’s consideration.

Given the recent increased focus on the deprivation of liberty from States, civil society, academia, and the United Nations, the NGO Panel for the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty considers that this is an excellent opportunity to continue the work on the deprivation of liberty and the development of international law in this area, and to focus on the specific barriers and challenges faced by women and girls.

The submissions should be sent to wgdiscriminationwomen@ohchr.org.

The deadline for submissions is October 12, 2018.


JUNE/ JULY 2018: Deprivation of Liberty at the 38th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

The United Nations Human Rights Council’s (HRC) 38th session took place from June 18 to July 6, 2018 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on Health on Deprivation of Liberty

On June 18, 2018, the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, Mr. Dainius Puras, presented his thematic report on the right to health in the context of confinement and deprivation of liberty, which included a focus on children deprived of liberty. He regretted that, in the 21st century, uncountable millions of children continue to be detained or awaiting trial, highlighting the negative impact that deprivation of liberty has on the right to physical, psychological, mental, and emotional health on children as well as poor sanitation, lack of fresh air and safe drinking water, and physical and sexual abuse by staff and peers. The Special Rapporteur called for the abolition of detention of children, stating that children should only be deprived of their liberty in very exceptional situations. Alternatives to detention, investing in families at risk, helping children to have good skills to live in the community, and involving adolescents in preventive programmes, were some his recommendations. Read a shortened version of his findings here.

Defence for Children International (DCI) , on behalf of the NGO Panel for the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty, delivered a statement during the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur . The NGO Panel welcomed the Special Rapporteur’s report and called on Member States and observers to engage with the Study, including by answering the questionnaire. The International Catholic Child Bureau (BICE) also delivered a statement welcoming the Special Rapporteur’s reference about the adverse conditions that affect physical and mental health on children deprived of liberty or confined and calling for engagement with the Global Study.

Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants Highlights Dangers of Deprivation of Liberty

On June 19, Mr. Felipe González Morales, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, presented his report on the return and reintegration of migrants. He noted that, under international human rights law, children should never be detained for immigration purposes, nor can detention be justified as being in a child’s best interests. He stated that alternatives to deprivation of liberty must be found, including family-based solutions. Furthermore, he expressed concern about children being separated from their families, especially considering that migrant children in many countries were not being provided with the basic services they needed. During the interactive dialogue with Mr. González Morales, Austria highlighted the lack of information around detention of children including numbers, location, and conditions of detention, and called upon governments to engage with the Global Study, including by answering the official questionnaire and providing relevant quantitative and qualitative data. Expressing similar concerns, UNICEF and several non-governmental organisations, including VIDES and Human Rights Law Centre showed concern regarding the growing number of children being detained, deported, and separated from their families. ECPAT International urged member States to support the Global Study, including by providing disaggregated data on boys and girls in detention.


JULY 2018: Thematic Consultation on Institutions in Pretoria, South Africa

A thematic consultation on children in institutions was held in Pretoria, South Africa from July 26-27, 2018. It was hosted by the Centre for Child Law in the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria together with UNICEF. The consultation gathered representatives from several international non-governmental organisations such as Defence for Children International (DCI), Hope and Homes, Lumos, Disability Rights International, SOS Children Villages International, the Better Care Network, the Center for Disability Law and Policy as well as UNICEF and the CELCIS Centre of the University of Strathclyde.

The consultation started with keynote speeches from Professor Manfred Nowak, the Independent Expert leading the Study; Johann van der Westhuizen, the Inspecting Judge of Prisons in South Africa and retired Justice of the South African Constitutional Court, also currently the Head of the Department of Jurisprudence in the Faculty of Law; and Professor Ann Skelton from Centre for Child Law of the University of Pretoria.

It featured rich discussions on key topics relevant to children deprived of their liberty in institutions, including definitional challenges, the causes and consequences of such practices and the specific situation of children with disabilities, migrant children, orphans, lesbian, gay, bisexual and intersex children, and children with “behavioural” problems among others. The discussions from the consultation will feed into the Study and addressed the identification of interesting practices, the need for a de-institutionalisation process, and the recommendations that should be addressed to all stakeholders.

World Congress on Justice - Paris

MAY 2018: World Congress on Justice for Children, UNESCO House, Paris, France

The World Congress on Justice for Children took place on May 28-30, 2018 in Paris, France. Three major issues were addressed in the Congress: the global trend towards children’s involvement in violent extremism and possible responses, the need for more effective ways to reduce juvenile offending and recidivism, and how to improve protection mechanisms for vulnerable children, including early prevention. Numerous professionals and stakeholders from all around the world shared their perspectives on youth and family justice, and the prevention of offending and violent extremism. Professor Manfred Nowak was a speaker on the keynote panel, many members of the NGO Panel were speakers and facilitators on different panels and workshops, and various activities and meetings were held in relation with the UN Global Study. Professor Nowak held a briefing session with state representatives on the Study and responding to the Questionnaire. He also met with the NGO Panel to discuss NGO engagement with the Global Study and to respond to questions directly from the Panel.


MAY 2018: African Regional Consultation on Global Study in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

A regional consultation for the United Nations Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty was held during the Continental Conference on Access to Justice for Children in Africa on May 10, 2018. The conference addressed a range of topics on access to justice for children in different contexts across Africa, several of which involved the deprivation of liberty of children. It also marked the launch of the report, “Spotlighting the Invisible: Justice for Children in Africa”, and ended with a Call to Action setting out concrete steps for key actors, including governments, African Union bodies, and civil society.

The topics discussed during the Global Study regional consultation on the third day included the deprivation of liberty related to the administration of justice, armed conflict and national security, and in the context of migration. It was well-attended by government officials, civil society representatives and academics from across the region. Findings from this consultation, as for all consultations, feed into the Global Study.

Please find the concept note here.