International Rules of Justice for Children

International Rules of Justice for Children

International rules: global consensus, lack of national action

Many existing international rules address justice for children. These rules explain how States should treat children who are affected by the judicial system in any capacity.

These rules are as follows:
* Convention on the Rights of the Child
* UN Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency
* UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice
* UN Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty
* UN Standard Minimum Rules for Non-Custodial Measures
* Guidelines for Action on Children in the Criminal Justice System
* UN Basic Principles on the Use of Restorative Justice Programmes in Criminal Matters
* Guidelines on Justice in Matters Involving Child Victims and Witnesses of Crime

Unfortunately, although almost every single State agrees on these rules in principle, very few have been able to apply them in practice. Most of this gap is due to financial reasons: an effective justice system for children is very expensive to establish, and most States do not have adequate funds.

Another problem is caused by the idea that the rights of delinquent children are less significant than others. Rarely are the conditions for imprisoned children discussed in a political or social agenda. Some regions of the world also take a very conservative and severe view of juvenile delinquency (e.g. indigenous African cultures, Asian societies), although they, too, are actually victims.

Also, it is very difficult to find information on national legislation in many States, because they are not published online and/or are not available in a common language, such as English. It is equally difficult to find official data on child detention (how many, their living conditions, and their re-entry into society), because the subject has not been adequately studied.

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