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Armenian teenagers share their experiences with juvenile justice in one-minute videos

© UNICEF / Chris Schuepp / 2012
Participants during the opening session of the OneMinutesJr workshop in Yerevan.

YEREVAN, Armenia, 9 April 2012 - Sixteen teenagers from different cities in Armenia have come together in the capital Yerevan this week for a five-day video workshop as part of the OneMinutesJr initiative. Their aim is to write, film and produce movies that tell about the experiences they have made when coming in conflict with the law.

For a full list of the videos produced, click here.

The young people are from Gyumri, Alaverdi, Kapan, Ijevan, Vanadzor, Chambarak and Yerevan. Most of them have been reported to the police in their towns and cities at least once in the recent past for petty crimes, robbery, stabbing other teenagers with knives or in one case also for alleged rape. Since they are all still minors and their crimes were either not severe enough or could not be proven, they were not sentenced to serve time in prison. Instead, they were all handed over to community centers by the police to receive psychological help and/or do community work.

Most of the teenagers says in our initial talk with them that they are grateful for not being in jail and that the community centers are are very positive service that enables them to find a safe haven and a place where people understand them and care for them. Some even stay beyond the necessary time and continue playing and working with the other teenagers at the centers.


Aramais (17) was accused of raping a girl two years ago. He pleaded innocent from the beginning, but the investigations took more than six months and the pressure on the then 15-year-old boy mounted and became almost unbearable. He was cleared of all charges in the end, but he is still feeling insecure and sometimes overly nervous and aggressive because of the psychological consequences of the pressure on him. His film is all about pressure...  

However, several of the participants want to produce films about the feeling of guilt that they still have not been able to overcome. Especially those teenagers who were involved in street violence and who have stabbed other children with knives tell us about "the heavy baggage" that they still carry. Artur (15) came up with a scenario for his film that shows a boy carrying a bag full of rocks and more and more rocks are added to the bag along the way until he is unable to move in one direction or the other. Then, finally, his friends help him and the heavy baggage is divided on many shoulders.

Many more interesting film idea come up during the first day of the workshop and so tomorrow we will continue the script-writing and story-boarding to be able to start shooting the films with the teenagers as soon as the scenarios are all finished and the camera introduction has been delivered.

The five-day training is part of a wider project to end torture and ill treatment of children, supported by the European Union in partnership with UNICEF.



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