The Call for a Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty was launched on 13 March 2014, at the United Nations Office in Geneva, supported by a number of NGOs, UN agencies and experts. On 18 December, the United Nations General Assembly officially requested for the Study to be carried out. This is a successful landmark in the campaign, with next steps now focusing on the process and methodology for the Study to ensure it is as comprehensive as possible.
PRI is a member of the core group of the NGO panel supporting the Call, which is led by Defence for Children International (DCI).
Why is the Study needed?
Nobody knows exactly how many children are imprisoned, detained or otherwise deprived of their liberty worldwide, but the evidence that is available shows that deprivation of liberty is both costly and damaging to children.
The lack of comprehensive quantitative and qualitative data (particularly disaggregated data), research and verified information means that States and other stakeholders cannot accurately define the scope of the problem or access adequate information on alternatives to detention that may be more beneficial to both children and society.
What would the Study do?
A Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty would comprehensively collect data and statistics from across regions on the number and situation of children in detention, and would study and share good practices to help shape more effective policies and practices. It would also add to the information base, raise the issue on political agendas, increase coordination and provide guidance on more effective protection of children’s rights.
“The Global Study on Children Deprivation of Liberty is to encompass children involved in criminal justice systems, children in need of protection, children with physical or mental disabilities, children exposed to drug abuse, children detained with their parents, children in immigration detention, and those suspected of threats to national security.
This Study will collect qualitative and quantitative data on the situation of children in detention, while also registering good practices, such as non-custodial measures, which work in the best interests of the child.
It will take a collaborative approach with the involvement of a range of actors, including agencies of the United Nations agencies and experts, States, civil society organizations, academia and children themselves.” Quote from Global Study for Children Deprived of Liberty Press Statement #12/2014
What has happened so far?
An expert consultation on the Study took place in Geneva in June 2014. There was a strong participation in the consultation, including members of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, government representatives, UN agencies, individual experts and NGOs. This final report from the consultation outlines the need and support for a Global Study and how it would be carried out.
This final report from the consultation outlines the need and support for a Global Study and how it would be carried out.
A request for the Global Study to be carried out was included in the Child Rights Resolution of the UNGA in December 2014. NGOs are now lobbying for the appointment of an appropriate and qualified child rights expert to undertake the Study.
The implementation phase is expected to start 2016/2017. A timeline for steps taken so far can be found here.
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