Implementing the UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty

Press Release

Geneva / New York - 9 October 2017

The NGO Panel for the United Nations Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty - made up of over 130 nongovernmental organizations from around the world, all working on advancing human rights - is urging governments to support the United Nations funding appeal for the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty (attached).

The UN General Assembly requested that the Secretary-General commission this Study, Professor Manfred Nowak has since been appointed as an Independent Expert to lead the effort (late 2016), but the whole process requires your support.

Like the two previous UN studies on children— on Children and Armed Conflict (Graça Machel, 1996) and on Violence against Children (Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, 2006) — the UN Study on Children Deprived of Liberty has the potential of bringing global attention to critical issues relating to children’s deprivation of liberty, sparking far reaching national and global reforms. The Study will provide concrete recommendations in law, policy and practice to member States on all forms of deprivation of liberty.

1. In the long-term, investing in the Study will lead to significant economic savings and societal benefits

There is a cost for the Study, but this can be offset by enormous social and financial benefits. Studies have shown that reducing the number of children deprived of liberty can result in higher levels of education, better livelihoods, lower crime rates, and healthier communities. Reducing children in detention can also provide substantial financial benefits to States: developing effective non-custodial measures is less costly than investing in detention facilities. Importantly, the Study is not a naming and shaming exercise, nor an end in itself. Furthermore, carrying out this Study does not need a permanent mandate to be established to translate the results into long-lasting impact; follow-up can be mainstreamed into the existing mandates of UN agencies already working on different aspects and forms of detention of children.

2.In the intermediate term, the Study will support member States in meeting their obligations under international law and fulfilling the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals commit to “leaving no one behind”. Yet this commitment cannot be met, if children deprived of liberty remain uncounted. We do not know how many children are detained worldwide, and without even this basic information it is impossible to respond to their needs. Children deprived of liberty are more likely to become victims of violence and exploitation and usually do not enjoy their rights to education, health care and access to justice. These children should be considered as among the furthest “behind”. Fulfilling the ambitious vision set by the SDGs requires that all children, particularly those living outside of their home environment, are counted and their situations addressed.

Therefore, we (the NGO Panel) call upon governments to respond to the United Nations funding appeal for the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty (attached). Individual contributions from States do not need to be large to make the Study possible. Small contributions from many States can make the Study a reality.

To contact the NGO Panel, including media inquiries, please contact, Anna Tomasi



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