Why does UNICEF promote diversion and alternatives?
• 1. Technical support for justice for children in conflict with the law: the basis for international cooperation
• 2. UNICEF’s role in relation to technical support
This section highlights the basis for international cooperation and technical support in relation to children in conflict with the law and UNICEF’s role in this process - as an integral part of its overall mandate to support implementation of the CRC.
1. Technical support for justice for children in conflict with the law: the basis for international cooperation
There are a number of relevant international instruments which highlight the importance of international cooperation and technical support [emphasis added]:
Convention on the Rights of the Child
• Article 4: States Parties shall undertake all appropriate legislative, administrative, and other measures for the implementation of the rights recognized in the present Convention. With regard to economic, social and cultural rights, States Parties shall undertake such measures to the maximum extent of their available resources and, where needed, within the framework of international co-operation.
• Article 45: In order to foster the effective implementation of the Convention and to encourage international cooperation in the field covered by the Convention: [...]
(b) The Committee shall transmit, as it may consider appropriate, to the specialized agencies, the United Nations Children's Fund and other competent bodies, any reports from States Parties that contain a request, or indicate a need, for technical advice or assistance, along with the Committee's observations and suggestions, if any, on these requests or indications. [...]
UN Resolution 1997/30 – Administration of Juvenile Justice: The ‘Vienna Guidelines’
• Paragraph 3. Invites the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Division of the Secretariat, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights/Centre for Human Rights, the United Nations Children's Fund and other relevant United Nations bodies and programmes to give favourable consideration to requests of Member States for technical assistance in the field of juvenile justice;
• Paragraph 8. Requests those organizations [inc. UNICEF], subject to the availability of regular budget or extrabudgetary funds, as well as interested Governments, to offer assistance through short-, medium- and long-term projects to those States parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child which the Committee on the Rights of the Child considers to be in need of improvement in their juvenile justice systems and recommends that such projects be undertaken in the context of the report of the States parties concerned on the implementation of the Convention, in accordance with article 44 of the Convention;
• Paragraph 9. Invites the governing bodies of the organizations referred to in paragraph 7 above [inc. UNICEF] to include in their programme activities a component on juvenile justice, with a view to ensuring the implementation of the present resolution;
Annex to the Vienna Guidelines - Guidelines for Action on Children in the Criminal Justice System
• Paragraph 27. There is an urgent need for close cooperation between all bodies in this field, in particular, the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Division of the Secretariat, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights/Centre for Human Rights, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the United Nations Children's Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the International Labour Organization, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the World Health Organization. In addition, the World Bank and other international and regional financial institutions and organizations, as well as non-governmental organizations and academic institutions, are invited to support the provision of advisory services and technical assistance in the field of juvenile justice.
Cooperation should therefore be strengthened, in particular with regard to research, dissemination of information, training, implementation and monitoring of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the use and application of existing standards, as well as with regard to the provision of technical advice and assistance programmes, for example by making use of existing international networks on juvenile justice.
• Paragraph 35. Prior to the first meeting of the coordination panel, a strategy should be elaborated for addressing the issue of how to activate further international cooperation in the field of juvenile justice. The coordination panel should also facilitate the identification of common problems, the compilation of examples of good practice and the analysis of shared experiences and needs, which in turn would lead to a more strategic approach to needs assessment and to effective proposals for action. Such a compilation would allow for concerted advisory services and technical assistance in juvenile justice, including an early agreement with the Government requesting such assistance, as well as with all other partners having the capacity and competence to implement the various segments of a country project, thus ensuring the most effective and problem-oriented action. This compilation should be developed continuously in close cooperation with all parties involved. It will take into account the possible introduction of diversion programmes and measures to improve the administration of juvenile justice, to reduce the use of remand homes and pre-trial detention, to improve the treatment of children deprived of their liberty and to create effective reintegration and recovery programmes.
• Paragraph 38. Important actors in the delivery of advisory services and technical assistance programmes at the country level are the United Nations resident coordinators, with significant roles to be played by the field offices of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights/Centre for Human Rights, the United Nations Children's Fund and the United Nations Development Programme. The vital nature of the integration of juvenile justice technical cooperation in country planning and programming, including through the United Nations country strategy note, is emphasized.
United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for Non-custodial Measures (‘Tokyo Rules’)
• International cooperationRule 23.1 Efforts shall be made to promote scientific cooperation between countries in the field of non-institutional treatment. Research, training, technical assistance and the exchange of information among Member States on non-custodial measures should be strengthened, through the United Nations institutes for the prevention of crime and the treatment of offenders, in close collaboration with the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Branch of the Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat.
2. UNICEF’s role in relation to technical support
As seen above, and in Section F1 on mandate, UNICEF has a key role to play in providing technical support in relation to justice for children in conflict with the law. Indeed, this is an area where UNICEF country offices already supply a lot of technical support for its partners: in 2008, 85% of UNICEF country offices were providing technical assistance to governments and civil society in more than 120 countries, for example in the area of law reform, training, policy advocacy, capacity building and the establishment of community-based services.
This toolkit represents a concerted effort to systematise the type and quality of technical support being offered in relation to children in conflict with the law by clarifying common global goals and promoting good practice. Where comprehensive reform of all aspects of the system is not possible, prevention, diversion and alternatives are - in most contexts - useful entry points which offer the most potential for positive impact on the greatest numbers of children.
It is expected that UNICEF Country Offices will take into account the evidence and lessons learned provided in this toolkit when considering how best to work with partners in the area of technical support for children in conflict with the law, in particular in the area of diversion and alternatives.
The CRC, Vienna Guidelines and Tokyo Rules clearly state the need for international co-operation in the implementation of child rights in general, and for children in conflict with the law and non-custodial measures in particular. UNICEF has long recognised that it has a key role to play in this field and has been working with partners in the delivery of technical support for many years. This toolkit aims to systematise and therefore strengthen this support through the issuing of detailed guidance in relation to diversion and alternatives.