Call for global study on children in detention

Friday, March 14, 2014

Defence for Children International, in collaboration with the APT and a number of other NGOs, have launched a Call for a Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty.

The Call was launched at an event at the UN in Geneva on Thursday, 13 March 2014, supported by the Permanent Missions of Austria, Ethiopia, Qatar and Uruguay. The event included the participation of Marta Santos Pais, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children and Renate Winter, UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

The Call asks the members of the UN General Assembly to request the UN Secretary-General to undertake a global study on children deprived of liberty, by appointing an independent expert to work in collaboration with UN agencies, States, civil society organisations, children and other relevant partners.

The Call derives from the need to comprehensively collect data and statistics from across regions on the number and situation of children in custody; share good practices; and formulate recommendations for effective measures to prevent human rights violations against children in custody and reduce the number of children deprived of liberty.

Deprivation of liberty has very negative consequences for the child’s harmonious development and is to be a “measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time”. Children deprived of liberty are exposed to increased risks of abuse, violence, social discrimination and denial of their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. Certain disadvantaged groups are more affected than others. Society is also affected at large as deprivation of liberty tends to increase social exclusion, recidivism rates, and public expenditure.

The study should take into account deprivation of liberty in all its forms and map out how existing international laws and standards are being implemented. Through the collection of sound evidence and reliable data, the Study would also provide a consolidation of good practices and the formulation of recommendations, to support the work of States, UN agencies and other stakeholders to more effectively implement international standards and ensure that children deprived of their liberty actually enjoy their human rights.

Statement to the UN Human Rights Council