Justice for Children - High level Regional Conference in Brussels, Belgium, 27-28 June 2013
Welcome to the conference page!
Updated 26 June 2013
The European Commission and UNICEF will host a high-level regional conference on justice for children on 27 – 28 June in Brussels, Belgium. European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle and UNICEF Deputy Director Yoka Brandt will open the conference.
Juvenile justice system reform has taken place in Central and Eastern Europe and the Central Asia over the last decade, with support from the European Commission, UNICEF and others. In many countries, governments have firmly committed to reform so specialized systems are in place to enable children in conflict with the law not to reoffend; national legal and policy frameworks have been brought in line with international and European standards; the capacity of professionals has been further built; alternatives to deprivation of liberty were introduced; and data collection and management mechanisms put in place.
These efforts have resulted in decreasing juvenile detention rates in several countries of the region. Higher proportions of children in conflict with the law now benefit from alternatives to deprivation of liberty and higher numbers receive support towards their reintegration.
In 2011-2013, the EC – through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) – and UNICEF have joined forces to step up juvenile justice reforms in eight countries of the region: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan and Ukraine. The project includes support to legislative reforms, capacity building, the setting up of alternatives and research on torture and ill-treatment. The conference is an integral part of this project, and will be largely funded by the EIDHR.
This reform process is however not over. While juvenile justice work has been progressing steadily, little has been done to improve access to justice for child victims and witnesses of crime, for children parties to civil proceedings (for issues such as custody, care or protection), for children wanting to file a complaint against a violation their rights.
Justice for children
The overall goal of the conference is to contribute to enabling those involved in justice for children at regional and national levels to accelerate juvenile justice reforms and to improve equitable access to justice for all children, within rule of law agendas.
The conference will take form in a series of thematic, facilitated debates on: children’s access to justice as a matter of equity; progress and achievements in reforming juvenile justice systems; priority issues remaining on the juvenile justice system reform agenda in the region; independent monitoring and oversight; policy priorities and commitment on future justice for children agendas.