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UNICEF Representative Calls for Comprehensive policy on Juvenile Justice

Bridgetown/Barbados, 20 July 2007. With the issue of justice for children being one that still needs to be fully addressed by Eastern Caribbean countries, the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, in collaboration with the UNICEF Office for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean will host a seminar on Justice for Children from 26-28 July in St. Lucia.

This seminar comes at a time when increasingly the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in its concluding observations on the State Reports on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) of Eastern Caribbean countries, has been calling for reform in the justice for children sector. 

UNICEF Representative for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Mr. Tom Olsen, noted that it is time for Caribbean countries to develop a comprehensive policy on justice for children, if they intend to achieve sustainable development and advance children’s rights.

“Like other countries in the world, Caribbean countries are putting measures in place to achieve the MDGs and to reach sustainable development,” he said. “But sustainable development requires investment in children’s issues and one of the key issues that needs investment is a comprehensive policy on justice for children.”

He further added that such a policy should encompass “holistic interventions to prevent anti-social behaviour, diversion schemes for young offenders and should also examine appropriate mechanisms related to the protection of child witnesses of crime and violence.”

The conference will host over 100 participants collectively from the judiciary, magistracy, police force, Probation and Social work departments from all Eastern Caribbean countries

It is expected that at the end of the three days, delegates will reach a consensus on a sub-regional action plan for a sustainable process of reform in the juvenile justice sector, which will then be later endorsed and promoted by the Heads of Governments of participating Member States.

Other collaborating partners on this initiative are the OECS Secretariat, the Austrian High Commission, the British High Commission, CARICOM, CIDA, DFID and UNIFEM.

For further information, please contact:

Alana Simmons, Executive Officer, Judicial Education Institute (JEI), Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Tel. (758) 457-3600

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

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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