June 26, 2018 — International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
Professor Nowak, the Independent Expert leading the UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty has called for countries around the world to count the number of all children deprived of liberty in different contexts. This aims to provide a snapshot of the number of children detained at that specific point in time. The questionnaire can be found here in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Bahasa, Burmese, Khmer, Lao, Malay, and Vietnamese. Please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) in case of any questions.
May 2018 - ASEAN Regional Consultation on Global Study in Bangkok, Thailand
An ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) regional consultation on juvenile justice reform, held in Bangkok, Thailand from May 2-4, was also used as a regional consultation for the Study. Professor Manfred Nowak gave plenary presentations on both the Study as a whole, as well as the questionnaire in particular. Representatives of nearly all research groups were present, and led day-long sessions to get input from participants on the Study’s themes. The consultation included government representatives from Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, as well as UNICEF country offices and national human rights institutions.
Please find the concept note here.
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.
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.
April 2018 - Experts and Advisory Board Meeting for Adoption of Research Methodology
The Experts and the Advisory Board of the UN Global Study met in Vienna, Austria, on April 10-11, 2018. This meeting reflected the new phase of the UN Global Study – implementation. The main outcomes were the appointment and first meeting of the Advisory Board and the finalization and adoption of the research methodology. Cross-cutting issues such as the impact of deprivation on liberty on children’s health, gender, and child participation will also be included in the study. Five research groups were established: children deprived of liberty in the administration of justice; children living in places of detention with their parents; children deprived of liberty for migration related reasons; children deprived of liberty in institutions; and children deprived of liberty related to armed conflict and national security. Each of these research groups comprises a research institution/academia, an UN focal point, an NGO focal point, and Advisory Board Members.
Please find below the research groups and the NGO focal points:
Children deprived of liberty in the administration of justice – NGO focal point: DCI (Helen Griffiths), CRIN (Leo Ratledge)
Children living in places of detention with their parents – NGO focal point: Children of Prisoners Europe (COPE) (Rachel Brett), Quakers (Laurel Townhead)
Children deprived of liberty for migration related reasons – HRW (Michael Garcia Bochenek)
Children deprived of liberty in institutions – NGO focal point: Lumos (Anna Darling), SOS Kindersdorf International
Children deprived of liberty related to armed conflict and national security- NGO focal point: HRW (Jo Becker)
The questionnaire can be found here in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, Bahasa, Burmese, Khmer, Lao, Malay, and Vietnamese.
March 2018 - World Congress on Justice for Children 28-30 May
World Congress on Justice for Children was held from the 28-30 May 2018 to address three major issues:
➜ 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,
➜ How to improve protection mechanisms for vulnerable children, including early prevention.
The 2018 World Congress was organised by a consortium of international organisations composed by the International Association of Youth and Family Judges and Magistrates (IAYFJM), Terre des hommes Foundation, and Penal Reform International (PRI) with Child Rights International Network (CRIN), Defence for Children International (DCI), Judicial Training Institute of Belgium (IGO-IFJ) and the Information for All Programme (IFAP) of UNESCO.
The event featured two days of plenaries with high level speakers and one day of workshops, run in four languages (English, French, Spanish and Arabic). Attendees included lawyers, judges, NGOs, States, professional bodies.
You can find out more about the World Congress here.
The 11th European Forum on the rights of the child was dedicated to children deprived of liberty.
The Council of Europe hosted a conference on 11-12 September looking at the detention of children in social welfare institutions in Prague.
An open letter to the UN, UN Agencies and Member States
We are writing on behalf of a network of nearly 140 nongovernmental organizations around the world to urge all governments to respond to the recent United Nations funding appeal for the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty. The UN General Assembly requested that the Secretary-General commission this Study, Professor Manfred Nowak has been appointed as an Independent Expert to lead the effort, but the whole process is now at risk without proper funding.
For this reason, we are urging all UN Member States to provide crucially needed financial support to the Study and wish to stress three main arguments explaining why such support is critical:
1. The Study is a tool to 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.
2. The Study will be a catalyst for change and a milestone in the development of alternatives to detention of children
Like the two previous UN studies on children—the 1996 Study on Children and Armed Conflict led by Graça Machel and the 2006 Study on Violence against Children led by Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro— the UN Study on Children Deprived of Liberty has the potential of bringing global attention to critical issues relating the deprivation of children and sparking far-reaching national and global reforms. The Study is a tool that will provide concrete recommendations in law, policy and practice to Member States on all forms of deprivation of liberty. 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.
Too many children are unnecessary deprived of their liberty, causing significant harm. This Study will present practical and effective solutions to treat children in a better way.
3. In the long-term, investing in the Study and in alternatives to detention will lead to significant 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.
Therefore, we call upon your Excellencies to respond to the United Nations funding appeal for the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty. Individual contributions from States do not need to be large to make the Study possible. Small contributions from many States could make the Study a reality.
An expert meeting led by Independent Expert Manfred Nowak was held at the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation in Venice, Italy, to develop the in-depth questionnaire for the Global Study.
The General Assembly asked the independent expert to submit the final report for the Study to the General Assembly in September 2018 (read the resolution).
Professor Manfred Nowak was appointed as an independent expert to lead the Study (read the press release).
The UN General Assembly requested an in-depth global Study on children deprived of liberty (read the resolution). The resolution requests that the Study be presented to the General Assembly in 2017, but delays to the process now mean that the report will not be finalised until 2018 at the earliest.
The Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended to the General Assembly that a Study be undertaken on children deprived of their liberty (read the letter). NGOs launch a call for the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty alongside UN experts and States.
NGOs launched a call for the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty alongside UN experts and States.