The new Law on Justice for Children promises to further advance children’s rights to justice and protection.

25 March 2024
Children playing in a football field
UNICEF/North Macedonia/Georgiev/2019

Skopje, 25 March 2024: UNICEF commends the country for enacting the new Law on Justice for Children officially published in the Official Gazette. The law, passed by the Parliament without any objections, underscores the cross-party commitment to ensuring that every child at risk, in contact or in conflict with the law in the country, has equitable access to a fair justice system when their rights are violated, or their entitlements denied.

The key improvements introduced by this law are designed to uphold the best interest of the child principle in all decisions related to children in contact with the justice system. Additionally, the law embraces a restorative justice approach, emphasizing the child’s right to be heard and aiming for rehabilitation and reintegration as the desired outcomes.

This progressive step reflects the country’s dedication to safeguarding the rights and well-being of its youngest citizens. It also introduces a paradigm shift that recognizes that children are first and foremost children. Whether through exposure to adverse childhood experiences at home or through the interaction with the justice system, trauma can have a profound and long-lasting impact on children’s ability to think, feel, and behave.

The new law is a great milestone and will require full engagement from institutions and professionals to ensure its effective implementation. To further inform this process, as part of the EU-funded and UNICEF-co-funded action, an analysis has been conducted providing recommendations to ensure adequacy, efficiency, effectiveness, and equity of the government budget for justice for children.

These new developments are promising steps to ensure the justice for children system becomes more child-friendly, gender-sensitive, and equipped with necessary resources and intersectoral cooperation including with health and education sectors.

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