Progress in Viet Nam in Mainstreaming Justice for Children in National Legal and Judicial Reforms
Ha Noi/Viet Nam, 31st October 2019 -- Viet Nam, over the past 15 years, has made great strides in mainstreaming justice for children in the national legal and judicial reforms, according to the Child Justice Situation Analysis report launched today in a Policy Dialogue on Child Rights and Child Justice jointly held by the Ministry of Justice, UNICEF and the EU. Radical changes have been introduced to the legal and policy framework to strengthen protection of all minors in conflict with the law.
“This report is a significant step forward in strengthening the evidence-base for child justice in Viet Nam. The Situation Analysis highlights progress made between 2006 and 2018, draws attention to existing gaps and contains strategic recommendations for comprehensive reforms of the child justice system, all of which can inform our discussions today”, said Lesley Miller, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Viet Nam.
In addition to child justice, participants to the Policy Dialogue, including policy makers and experts at both national and provincial levels. Representatives from international organizations and civil society also took stock of other achievements on child rights and protection of children from violence, analysed bottlenecks, and discussed a strategic framework on strengthening child rights and children’s access to justice in the coming period.
Speaking at the Policy Dialogue, Ms. Miller of UNICEF emphasized the important of law implementation and enforcement in ensuring real change in the lives of boys and girls. According to her, international experience has shown that successful reforms require extensive communication to gain public support and engagement, adequate investment in human resources, effective inter-agency coordination, and a strong monitoring system.
Viet Nam also need to address the gaps in the legal system for full guarantee of the rights of all children. The age of the child under the Law on Children should be amended to 18, in line with the Constitution of Viet Nam and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. This is needed to ensure that boys and girls aged 16-17 years, as one of the age groups most susceptible to violence and exploitation, are provided with full protection and support under the Law on Children.
Ms. Lesley Miller, Deputy of @UNICEF_vietnam together with the @EUDelegationVN and Ministry of Justice, launched the Child Justice Situation Analysis report today at the Policy Dialogue on Child Rights and Child Justice.@FamilyCourtAU @UNICEF_EAPRO @UNICEF pic.twitter.com/P0fcgvPRGM— UNICEF Viet Nam (@UNICEF_vietnam) October 31, 2019
The role of coordination is essential in addressing the issue of child justice in Viet Nam. The child justice system consists of many interdependent agencies and organizations. To ensure a smooth-running system, it is necessary to clearly define the functions, duties and responsibilities of each agency, and the mechanisms to effectively and consistently coordinate the operation of all parties.
According to the Child Justice Situation Analysis, during the past 15 years, on average there were 13,000 minors in conflict with the law, handled by law enforcement with administrative or criminal measures each year. Offences committed by minors has seen a decline of more than 60 per cent within this period. While the number of administrative violations by minors has dropped substantially by 66 per cent, criminal offences decreased at a slower pace at 35 per cent. The majority of minors in conflict with the law were male and most aged 16 to 17 years. Property offences made up the largest proportion of offences committed by minors (nearly 46 per cent) while serious acts such as murder, rape robbery and snatching accounted for small proportion.
The Analysis also identified some gaps in Viet Nam's legal and policy framework and proposed strategic recommendations going forward for better outcomes for children. This includes the development of a master plan on child justice, strengthen interdisciplinary coordination and cooperation mechanisms, development of a comprehensive child justice law, and a framework law defining roles and functions of social workers in different areas. The Analysis also recommends increased child justice specialization, and improved supporting services to minors in conflict with the law to address risk factors contributing to offending behaviors. Data collection, report and analysis of minors in conflict with the law is also need to be improved to inform the evidence-based policymaking and planning.
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UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit https://www.unicef.org/vietnam