International Bridges to Justice is proud to join the United Nations on 20 November 2018 in celebrating Universal Children’s Day, established in 1954. November 20th was the date in 1959 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and in 1989 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Today promotes not only international solidarity and understanding among children worldwide but also togetherness in their wellbeing, safety and human rights. World Children’s Day should be a day on which we celebrate children around the world effectively claiming their rights: All children deserve to be safe and protected, to live with their parents and their families, and to have their voices heard in matters concerning them.
Unfortunately this is not always the case. On this World Children’s Day, many children around the world are locked up behind bars in detention facilities: Often not only arbitrarily and without respect for their human and due process rights – but also without having access to their parents, families and/or legal counsel to assist them and being subjected to torture, abuse and/or ill and degrading treatment. This pertains in particular to refugee and migrant children as well as those detained administratively.
Article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child determines that States Parties must ensure the following:
– No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age;
– No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time;
– Every child deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and in a manner which takes into account the needs of persons of his or her age. In particular, every child deprived of liberty shall be separated from adults unless it is considered in the child’s best interest not to do so and shall have the right to maintain contact with his or her family through correspondence and visits, save in exceptional circumstances; and
– Every child deprived of his or her liberty shall have the right to prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance, as well as the right to challenge the legality of the deprivation of his or her liberty before a court or other competent, independent and impartial authority, and to a prompt decision on any such action.
Through its programs and work with the youth and young lawyers globally, International Bridges to Justice will continue to promote and advocate full access to justice and due process rights – including for children and youthful detainees