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Published, 5 March 2019

Global opportunity to ensure Justice for Children

A group of internationally recognised organisations working on children’s rights issues, have partnered to oversee the development of a Challenge Paper on Justice for Children.

The Institute for Inspiring Children’s Futures and CELCIS at the University of Strathclyde have combined forces with the Office of the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence Against Children and the Child Justice Advocacy Group (key International NGOs working in the field of Justice for Children), with Defense for Children International and Terre des Hommes to develop this paper. The paper will highlight the distinct realities of justice for children internationally and to inform next steps for the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 16, which aims to promote peaceful, inclusive societies for sustainable development and provide access to justice for all.

The paper has been commissioned by the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies – an alliance of UN Member States, International Organisations, Global partnerships and others to support the delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – through its Task Force on Justice.

The Challenge Paper on Justice for Children will outline the key themes globally where children rights are not being met, in the context of the justice system, and where justice systems can be better used to prevent injustice to children globally. It will target those who determine, design and implement national and local strategy for the promotion of justice for children and young people.  

It will have a strong focus on delivery, and aims to inject yet more momentum to bring about policies and programmes that enable rapid improvements for children and young people, in keeping with the UN Convention the Rights of the Child.

Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Violence Against Children, said: “Countless children involved with the justice system have a history of exposure to violence. In many states, the justice system is still being used as a substitute to weak or non- existent child protection systems, leading to the stigmatization and criminalization of children at risk, including those who are homeless or poor, those living or working on the street, and those who have fled home as a result of violence.”

Professor Jennifer Davidson, Project Director and the Executive Director of CELCIS and Inspiring Children’s Futures, said: “The Sustainable Development Goals commit to ‘leaving no one behind’ but this cannot be fulfilled if the rights of children – and justice for all children – are not made a reality.  Justice systems affect children in many ways; children are rights holders and often human rights defenders, but also, children may be victims, offenders or witnesses, and in each of these contexts, children must have access to a specialist and differentiated justice systems that are in line with their stage of development and recognise international law. Only then will children experience meaningful justice, and be adequately protected from injustice.

“We are delighted to be commissioned to undertake this work and we look forward to undertaking this remarkable piece of global influencing work alongside our partners.”

The development of the Challenge Paper on Justice for Children is being informed by wide Technical Working Group made up of global experts on children rights.  

The Challenge Paper on Justice for Children is expected to launch during Spring of 2019 coinciding with the launch of a main report of the Task Force for Justice.

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