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Print this pageGuidance Note of the Secretary-General: UN Approach to Justice for Children




UN Secretary General

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CRIN Guides and Toolkits


This note provides the guiding principles and framework for UN justice for children activities at the national level that apply in all circumstances, including in conflict prevention, crisis, post-crisis, conflict, post-conflict and development contexts. It is framed within the UN mandate to support the realisation of human rights, poverty reduction and the Millennium Development Goals, and is a contribution to the UN coherence agenda in the rule of law area.

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The goal of the justice for children approach is to ensure that children, defined by the Convention on the Rights of the Child as all persons under the age of eighteen, are better served and protected by justice systems, including the security and social welfare sectors. It specifically aims at ensuring full application of international norms and standards for all children who come into contact with justice and related systems as victims, witnesses and alleged offenders; or for other reasons where judicial, state administrative or non-state adjudicatory intervention is needed, for example regarding their care, custody or protection.

A. Guiding Principles

1. Ensuring that the best interests of the child is given primary consideration

2. Guaranteeing fair and equal treatment of every child, free from all kinds of discrimination

3. Advancing the right of the child to express his or her views freely and to be heard

4. Protecting every child from abuse, exploitation and violence

5. Treating every child with dignity and compassion

6. Respecting legal guarantees and safeguards in all processes

7. Preventing conflict with the law as a crucial element of any juvenile justice policy

8. Using deprivation of liberty of children only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time

9. Mainstreaming children’s issues in all rule of law efforts

B. Framework for Justice for Children

The UN approach to justice for children involves two tracks to ensure that children are better served and protected by justice systems. The first aims to ensure greater attention to children inrule of law initiatives, and the second suggests additional interventions necessary to strengthen rule of law efforts in terms of justice for children specially and to guarantee full respect for childrights. Both these tracks are described below and integrated in the framework for strengthening the rule of law as described in the UN approach to rule of law assistance.

Read the full Guidance Note here.

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Last updated 17/08/2011 04:43:09

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