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Project to strengthen juvenile justice launched in Yemen

Three-year project is result of partnership between Ministry of Justice, UNICEF and European Union

SANA’A, 6 March 2010 – A three-year project to strengthen juvenile justice systems in Yemen was launched today by the Ministry of Justice, in cooperation with the Ministry of Human Rights, the Delegation of the European Union and UNICEF. The 2010-2012 project aims to offer alternatives to detention and access to services at the pre-trial, trial and post-trial stages, and to promote the social reintegration of juveniles in conflict with the law and community-based prevention. The European Union has provided €3.5 million to UNICEF for this project, and UNICEF will contribute the remaining €700,000 from its regular resources.

“UNICEF has been working with the Ministry of Justice in this area for several years,” Aboudou Karimou Adjibadé, UNICEF Representative in Yemen, said. “Child-friendly courts and more women in the juvenile justice system will improve the protective environment that young people need.”

Michele Cervone, European Union Representative in Yemen, said: “There is a sense of urgency to make a difference in the area of juvenile justice in Yemen.” He added, however, that external support will be ineffective without ownership by and coordination between Yemeni actors. “The fact that we are all here today shows a willingness to work together in that regard,” he said.

The Ministry of Justice is responsible for coordination and implementation of the project, which will involve cooperation with all parties working with children in conflict with the law, including: Members of Parliament, central and local government authorities, families, schools, communities, training institutes, media, Imams, prosecutors, judges, lawyers, social workers, teachers, mental health professionals, police officers, institution staff and correctional officers, as well as children themselves.

The overall objective of the project is to support juvenile justice and the rule of law in Yemen, in line with European Union and international standards. Specific activities include:

  • Conducting an assessment of needed legislative amendments and measures – including the creation of family courts and protection of child victims and witnesses of crime – and advocating for their establishment.
  • Offering technical support to strengthen data collection and build institutional capacity in juvenile directorates.
  • Protecting and reintegrating children deprived of their liberty through such measures as establishing child protection police units, providing free legal assistance, developing a vocational training programme and supporting rehabilitation to communities and families.
  • Conducting awareness raising, social mobilization and communication for behaviour change, with youth participation.

The project will be supervised and monitored by a high level Steering Committee, which will meet twice a year to monitor, follow-up and supervise the project implementation. A Technical Committee is responsible for the implementation of the project, under the chairmanship of the Ministry of Justice and members of UNICEF and the EU, as well as representatives of other ministries and from civil society.

UNICEF is on the ground 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, 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.

For further information please contact:
Zahra Sethna, UNICEF Yemen,
Cell + 967-711-760-004,

Najwa Mekki, UNICEF Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa,
Tel + 962-6-550-2425,




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