EU and UNICEF supported conference on the role of municipalities in preventing juvenile delinquency
At the conference, representatives from eleven municipalities - Kavadarci, Stip, Kratovo, Rosoman, Negotino, Strumica, Ohrid, Kumanovo, Prilep, Kisela Voda and Bitola - that have established local juvenile delinquency prevention councils gathered to discuss the results of their recent efforts. The councils were established with technical support from the EU funded and UNICEF co-funded and implemented “Justice for Children” Project.
“Since children are among the most vulnerable groups of society, they are surly in need of specific attention and treatment. Lack of justice for children discredits by all means the overall justice system,” said Mr. Dieter Thiel, Head of Operations, EU Delegation
In addition to ensuring the justice system is equipped to protect the rights of children who come into conflict with the law, the Justice for Children project has also been working to reduce the number of children that enter the system. Recognizing prevention is paramount; the project supported the National Council on Prevention to develop a first of its kind national prevention strategy and helped local governments in the eleven municipalities convert the strategy into concrete local actions.
“The successful implementation of prevention strategy requires efforts from the entire society – the family, schools, the local community, media, lawmakers, health services, and everyone who works with children at risk,” said Mr. Vladimir Ortakovski, President of the National Council on Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency.
The juvenile justice law foresees that all municipalities in the country establish local councils. Made up of multi-sector representatives, the mandate of the local council is to monitor the situation with the children in the justice system at the local level, to develop programs for inclusion of the local community in the prevention of the juvenile delinquency and to conduct public awareness activities. The eleven municipalities included in the project serve as examples for other municipalities.
The conference was organized as part of the EU and UNICEF Justice for Children Project. Contributing to the broader reform of the criminal justice system, the € 800,000 project is funded by the EU (under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance) with an amount of €700,000 and co-funded with €100,000 and implemented by UNICEF. Focusing on three pillars - improving the normative framework, capacity building, and prevention – the project has contributed to closing the gap between what is written in the law and the actual practice.
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