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UNICEF Regional Director Calls for holistic approach to Justice for Children

Castries/St. Lucia, 26 July 2007.-  Recognizing that justice for children is one of the areas that still needs to be fully addressed by Caribbean countries, UNICEF's Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean – Mr. Nils Kastberg, today called for a holistic approach to interventions in the area of justice for children.

His comments came during the opening ceremony of the Seminar on Justice for Children being held today in St. Lucia at the Sandals Grande Hotel. This seminar has been organized by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, in collaboration with the UNICEF Office for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean

Speaking before an audience that comprises of members of the judiciary, along with social workers, probation officers, police officers and representatives from the international community, Kastberg reminded the participants that the approach to justice for children must encompass prevention, protection rehabilitation and reintegration of children entering into contact with the justice system. He also noted that it should not only look at offenders but should also consider issues of concern to child witnesses, as well as child victims of crime.

“Our first line of action must be prevention.” He said. “We must prevent potentially vulnerable children from getting involved in anti-social activities, and likewise we need to prevent the abuse and exploitation of children and minimize their witnessing of crime, be it in domestic violence situations or in the wider society,” he added.

Mr. Kastberg also took the opportunity to urged the OECS Secretariat to speed up the process of legal reform of family laws under the OECS Legal and Judicial Reform Project

“Our Eastern Caribbean children “have been waiting too long to have existing [legal] provisions in line with international standards,” he said.

The seminar which will last for three days will review International Trends in Justice For Children, assess the status of Justice for Children in the Eastern Caribbean  and examine current issues and innovative practices in managing children who are victims or witnesses of crime and alternative approaches to current models of youth justice.

Other collaborating partners on this initiative are the OECS Secretariat, the Austrian High Commission, the British High Commission,  the International Association for Youth and Family Judges and Magistrates and the International Institute for the Rights of the Child.
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For further information, please contact:

Niloufar Pourzand, Deputy Representative, UNICEF Office for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Tel (246)  2539045 email: npourzand@unicef.org

Heather Stewart, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF Office for Barbados and Eastern Caribbean, Tel. (246) 2302623 e-mail: hstewart@unicef.org

Lisa McClean-Trotman, Communication Specialist, UNICEF Office for Barbados and Eastern Caribbean, Tel: 246  2302642 e-mail: lmccleantrotman@unicef.org


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About UNICEF

UNICEF is on the ground in more than 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

Learn more at www.unicef.org/barbados

 

 
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