What is the UN Study?


The Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty should investigate the situation of children deprived of their liberty around the world and make recommendations on the use of detention for children and on how to realise the rights of children who are detained. Led by Manfred Nowak, an Independent Expert, it should pull together the experience of the UN, States, civil society and other experts.

The Study will aim to address all forms of deprivation of liberty, but will focus on six settings in which children are detained:

1. Children in conflict with the law

2. Children in institutions

3. Armed conflict

4. National security

5. Immigration detention

6. Children incarcerated with their parents


The objectives of the UN Study

There are four core aims for the Study:

1. To address how many children are deprived of their liberty, who these children are and why they are detained. It will look at the root causes of detention as well as the immediate trigger.

2. To document the experiences of children in detention and the most effective ways of protecting their rights.

3. To challenge stigmatising attitudes to children who are detained or at risk of detention.

4. Make recommendations for law, policy and practice on how to realise the rights of children, including preventing detention and reducing the number of children who are detained.

The Independent Expert

Manfred Nowak is a professor of international law and human rights at the University of Vienna and the Secretary-General of the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation in Venice. He was previously the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture.


Funding issues

The Study is at a critical stage. The UN appointed an Independent Expert to lead the Study in October 2016, but a lack of funding is preventing work from getting underway. In the absence of funding, no methodology can be set out and no timeline can be put in place, meaning it is not possible to hold consultations or to collect evidence.

The UN has called for States to fund the Study through voluntary contributions - meaning that if countries do not provide financial support, the Study will not take place. NGOs are calling for the UN and member states to step up and match their rhetoric with action and you can add your voice to our call.

To stay-up-to date on the latest developments, sign up to our UN CRINmail for email updates on children’s rights at the UN, including developments on the Study, and join the NGO Panel for the Global Study, which exists to help support civil society get involved with the Study.

The NGO Panel

The NGO Panel for the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty coordinates joint advocacy and lobbying efforts for the Study. CRIN is a member of the panel and the “core group” of NGOs coordinating its work. Any NGOs working on children's rights can request to become a member. For more information, please see the website of the NGO Panel for the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty.