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Print this pageHRC: Statement on Child Sensitive Justice System




Child Rights International Network

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International Save the Children Alliance and CRIN


Statement for the 10th session of the UN Human Rights Council during the one day debate on the rights of the child. Due to lack of time, the statement was submitted but not delivered orally.

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Human Rights Council – 10th session (March 2009)
Annual Full Day Meeting on the Rights of the Child
Child-Sensitive Justice Systems – afternoon panel

Thank you Mr Chairman.

Mr Chairman,

For child rights to have meaning, effective remedies must be available to redress their violations. Yet, children’s access to justice is extraordinarily limited. Because of their vulnerability, evolving capacity and dependence on adults, children are confronted with real difficulties in pursuing remedies for breaches of their rights.

On a national level, children cannot initiate court processes in many jurisdictions until they reach the age of majority. Where they do come into contact with the justice system as victims, witnesses, or perpetrators, the law is often ill-equipped to provide children the special consideration they are entitled to: they all too often find themselves confused, intimidated, and repeatedly traumatised by ongoing investigations and proceedings.

Child victims may be discouraged or prevented from offering testimony; child witnesses may often be seen as inherently unreliable and untrustworthy; children in conflict with the law may not be ensured the basic rights of due process.

Against this background, a call for child-sensitive justice is beginning to emerge. A justice that both empowers children to challenge violations of their rights and addresses their special status.

We welcome significant steps that have been taken by some States to improve children's access to justice and call on all States to:

  • Incorporate the CRC into national legal systems and make all rights therein included as justiciable;
  • Ensure that there are effective, child-sensitive procedures available to children and their representatives to redress violations of all child rights;
  • Review both civil and criminal procedures to accommodate the needs of children, either as plaintiffs, in conflict with the law, witnesses or victims;
  • Ensure that children have access to child-friendly information and confidential legal advice and free legal aid;
  • Provide for specific child rights and child development training of everyone involved in the justice system, including lawyers, judges and law enforcement officials

We sincerely hope that these recommendations will be part of the resolution on the rights of the child that the Council is going to adopt at this session.

Thank you Mr Chairman.

Further information

Previous Statement items

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Child Rights International Network
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Tel: +44 (0)207 401 2257

Last updated 12/03/2009 15:28:52

Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.

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