Justice system


Protection from violence in the justice system


Technical Note: COVID-19 and Children Deprived of their Liberty

In responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, States must ensure that the human rights of every child who is deprived of her or his liberty are fully respected, protected and fulfilled. This includes providing adequate care and protection from harm, including by taking concrete steps to reduce overcrowding in all facilities in which they are detained and ensuring safe placement in non-custodial, family or community-based settings. It also means that all decisions and actions concerning children must be guided by the principle of the best interests of the child, and children’s rights to life, survival, and development, and to be heard. Read more


SRSG Najat Maalla M'jid joins Call to Action for global Justice for Children

This Justice for Children, Call to Action provides a strategic vision that actively puts children at the centre, affirms children’s rights and promotes their capabilities and opportunities, and vigorously targets the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It is explicitly focussed on injecting momentum into the next steps for the implementation of the UN SDG16; the goal to “promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.” Read more

Children speak about the impact of deprivation of liberty: the case of Latin America

The risk of violence faced by children affected by deprivation of liberty has been a priority for the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children since the outset of her mandate in 2009. In an effort to shed further light on the impact of deprivation of liberty on the enjoyment of children’s rights, the
Special Representative partnered with UNICEF, the Governments of Paraguay and Uruguay and the Latin American and Caribbean Regional Platform for Children with a Parent deprived of Liberty (NNAPEs Platform) to document the views and experiences of children affected by the deprivation of liberty. Read more

Global Study on Children deprived of liberty

It is our strong hope that this Study will mark a turning point in ending the invisibility and overcoming the vulnerability, stigmatisation and social exclusion of children deprived of liberty. As the research confirms, these children are often neglected by policies and data in countries around the world. Indeed, some of the key findings and recommendations of the Study relate to unavailability of comprehensive data, which is vital to understand the scope of the deprivation of liberty of children globally, as well as to assess the progress made as a result of policy changes. Sadly, the saying that “the ones who are not counted do not count” reflects well the harsh reality of children deprived of liberty. Read more

Expert consultations

Global expert consultation

The expert consultation focused on the risks and systemic factors contributing to violence against children within the juvenile justice system, and strategies and practical recommendations to prevent and respond to violence against children within the juvenile justice system.  Participants included representatives from international and regional human rights bodies, governmental and State  institutions, academia and civil society. Read more       


Regional expert consultation

As implementation of the 2030 Agenda starts, countless children are being left behind, including those deprived of their liberty. Considering the need to support the elaboration of the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty organised an expert consultation to discuss laws, policies and programs for crime prevention and resocialization of children in contact with criminal justice systems. The debates held at this meeting became a concrete contribution to the UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty and to the design and implementation of crime prevention and reintegration policies in Latin America. Read more


Other resources:

United Nations Model Strategies and Practical Measures on the Elimination of Violence against Children in the Field of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice - A/RES/69/194

SRSGVAC Thematic Report on Prevention and Responses to Violence against Children within the Juvenile Justice System - Download

Joint report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children on prevention of and responses to violence against children within the juvenile justice system presented to the 21th Session of the Human Rights Council, in Geneva - A/HRC/21/25

SRSGVAC Annual Report  to the United Nations General Assembly 2016 - A/71/206


Restorative Justice

Global expert consultation

The expert consultation focused on sharing of good legislative, policy and program examples, taking into account possible challenges in countries where law reform and a paradigm shift from punitive approaches to child sensitive restorative justice programs have led to rehabilitation and reintegration of children at community level and providing an overview of available models of restorative justice for children and of legal structures that support such programmes at the national, regional and community levels. Read more



Other resources:

SRSGVAC Thematic Report on Promoting Restorative Justice for Children - Download 

SRSGVAC  Annual Report  to the United Nations General Assembly 2013 - A/68/274


Girls in the Justice system

Safeguarding the rights of girls in the criminal justice systemGirls often face significant barriers to accessing justice, whether they are victims of crime, witnesses or alleged o"enders. All too often, legislation and criminal, administrative and civil proceedings are inadequate for the safeguarding of their rights, while appropriate policies for heir protection are absent or poorly implemented.In short, as a consequence of their age and gender, girls face a double challenge when they come in contact with criminal justice systems, a challenge rooted in discriminatory attitudes and perceptions that persist in societies around the world.           

Download the publication






Children of incarcerated parents 

In 2014, the General called for a Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty, highlighting it should be developed taking into account children’s views. To advance work in this area and capture children’s voices and experience, in 2017 the Special Representative joined hands with the Uruguayan NGO Gurises Unidos and the Regional Platform for children with an adult deprived of liberty (NAPPES Platform).  Children from 6 to 17 years of age who have a parent or a guardian deprived of liberty participated in local focus groups held in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Dominican Republic, and Uruguay and in a regional consultation held in Dominican Republic. The views of children informed the development of a brochure which addresses the impact of deprivation of liberty on the lives of children and includes children’s recommendations to ensure the protection of their human rights. 

Brochure English The voices of children and adolescents who have a mother, a father or a guardian deprived of liberty. A contribution to the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty

Brochure/Panfleto in Spanish Las voces de las niñas, niños y adolescentes que tienen una madre, padre o tutor privado de libertad. Una contribución para el Estudio Global sobre Niños Privados de Libertad. 


Other resources:

SRSG Annual Report to the United Nations General Assembly 2018 - A/73/276