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Justice for children in detention in Afghanistan

KABUL, 24 June 2008 – A new study on the situation of children in conflict with law by the Afghan Independent Human Right Commission (AIHRC) in collaboration with UNICEF will be released tomorrow, 25 June in Kabul.

The study urges full implementation of the Juvenile Code. The Government of Afghanistan adopted the Juvenile Code – Procedural Law for Dealing with Children in Conflict with the Law in March 2005 incorporating the basic principles of juvenile justice as expressed in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Following the enactment of this legislation, UNICEF supported awareness-raising, training and capacity-building programmes with law enforcement and judicial bodies and key stakeholders.

The report shows that children in detention continue to face rights violations including maltreatment, lack of access to education and health services. A punitive and retributive approach to juvenile justice seems to be still predominant in Afghanistan.

The new study offers an opportunity to evaluate the existing services for children in conflict with the law,”says UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan, Catherine Mbengue, “UNICEF strongly advocates measures to prevent and reduce detention or imprisonment of children and prevention programmes involving communities and children at risk- we need to invest more to prevent children coming into conflict with the law while we continue to assist children already in detention.”

The study, is the result of over a one year period of information gathering from 22 provinces, taking an analytical look at the structures of juvenile courts and juvenile rehabilitation centres in the country. The following provinces were covered by the study: Kabul, Kapisa, Parwan, Logar, Ghazni, Nangarhar, Laghman, Kunar, Takhar, Baghlan, Kunduz, Samangan, Balkh, Herat, Helmand, Kandahar, Zabul, Urozgan, Bamyan, Sari Pool, Panjshir, and Daikundi.

Following the launch of the report, AIHRC and UNICEF will be holding a workshop for judicial representatives in order to initiate a dialogue on the recommendations in order improve the situation of detained children within the justice system in Afghanistan.

UNICEF works in over 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, safe 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.

For more information, please contact:
UNICEF Kabul, Roshan Khadivi; rkhadivi@unicef.org; +93 798 50 7110
UNICEF New York, Kathryn Donovan;kdonovan@unicef.org; + 1 212 326 7452




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