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. Work is now underway, but reduced funding means that the work is being done on a more limited scale than was initially envisaged. The Study will take place, but more funding is needed to ensure it can achieve the ambitious aims it has set out.

The UN has called for States to fund the Study through voluntary contributions - meaning that if countries do not provide the necessary financial support, the scale of the work must be reduced. There is still the opportunity for States to contribute and NGOs are calling for the UN and member states to match their rhetoric with action and you can add you voice to the call.

To get involved with the study, you can join or contact the NGO Panel for the Global Study, which exists to help support civil society to contribute to the process. To stay-up-to date on the latest developments from CRIN, sign up to our CRINmail for email updates on children’s rights, including developments on 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.