Juvenile Justice – a way to help to children in conflict with the law
"We would do well to recognise that a prison is not the best correctional place for young offenders who have committed minor crimes. Often in prison, juveniles get used to criminal life which is the opposite of what we want to achieve," - President Islam Karimov, the VI session of the Parliament of Uzbekistan
TASHKENT, October 2 2006 - A number of senior officials from the Office of the General Prosecutor, the Ministry of Interior, Uzbek parliament, the Legal Problems Study Center, National Center on Human Rights and UNICEF child protection officers have met for the final review and discussion of the draft law on juvenile justice to be presented to the Uzbek parliament by the end of 2006. This draft law has been almost a year in development by a special working group under the Legal Problems Study Center. The working group brought together many experts from different governmental agencies, parliament, non-governmental agencies and universities.
"It is an exemplary draft law for the whole Central Asian region and is even more advanced than the laws of some European countries," says Renate Winter, international consultant to UNICEF.
The aim of this draft law is to regulate the relations that occur in the legal process and to ensure that the rights and legal interests of juvenile victims and witnesses are protected while they are within the juvenile justice system. Based on restorative justice, the draft law emphasizes the need for young offenders to have access to education and an opportunity for full reintegration into society. Also, a special focus is given to the needs of the victims to ensure the safeguarding of their rights.
In its recommendations on the second country report submitted by Uzbekistan, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva acknowledged the Uzbek government's efforts in bringing the law into compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and encourages the adoption of the juvenile justice law, and especially the establishment of youth courts with appropriately trained professional personnel.
Note for editors: According to available data, the juvenile crime rate in Uzbekistan is 117 per 100,000 children aged between 14-17. This accounts for 4% of the total number of crimes committed in the country. The number of juveniles serving time in prison is over 1% of the total number of prisoners in the country.
For additional information, please contact:
Siyma Barkin, Child Protection Officer, UNICEF Uzbekistan
Bobur Turdiev, Communication Officer, UNICEF Uzbekistan