15-20 November 2021 - The Global Initiative on Justice With Children organised its World Congress on Justice With Children. The World Congress gathered children alongside policymakers, legal practitioners, academics, and civil society representatives with relevant work experience to influence Child Justice, explore best practices, foster scientific cooperation, and raise awareness on child-friendly justice.
This 2021 edition of the World Congress focused on:
1. Defining a global strategy to accelerate progress towards child-friendly justice with and for children until the next congress.
2. Fostering regional synergies and action plans for the next three years to provide regional roadmaps for implementing the global strategy.
3. Collecting national pledges to reinforce policies and practices that make real differences in the lives of children in contact with the law.
4. Generating a path for action after the plenary sessions and workshops based on the discussion and topics raised.
UNODC was represented by Alexandra Martins, Coordinator of the Global Programme to End Violence Against Children. During her intervention, Ms. Martins stressed “that change needs to happen if the justice systems of the future are to provide real opportunities for children”.
She also mentioned “the need to ensure that multi-stakeholder action happens in making child rights a priority; ensuring that child rights is integrated into developmental efforts and any response to the current crises including in socio-economic recovery plans; identifying the champions who are committed to make change happen and establishing new and creative alliances; strengthening the capacity of State and non-State actors to recognize the urgency of the matter and to address efforts towards the same direction; improving social norms and behaviors; and creating the conditions for meaningful child participation.”
As a result of the World Congress, the Consortium and its Child and Youth Advisory Group (CYAG), with inputs from the Scientific Committee, organizing partners, and participants, finalized the 'Global Declaration' to call for action towards realizing justice with children, inclusive access to justice for children without discrimination, resilient access to justice for children in the face of crises and pandemics, and child-friendly access to justice for all children in contact with the law.
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8-9 March 2022 - The Global Initiative on Justice With Children organised the first Preparatory meeting for the next World Congress on Justice With Children. On this occasion, a group composed of policymakers, practitioners, academics, representatives from civil society organizations and from the United Nations gathered to:
- define key challenges and priorities in juvenile justice;
- share promising practices; and
- identify the most relevant issues and action-oriented recommendations for the next edition of the World Congress.
Launched in 2019, the Global Initiative on Justice With Children focuses on crime prevention, alternatives to deprivation of liberty with special consideration to restorative justice, improvement of conditions of detention, both for children and young adults.
Within the framework of the next World Congress to be held in 2024, the Preparatory meeting identified key challenges that juvenile justice systems will need to address in the coming years to achieve more resilient access to justice:
1. Environmental crisis and climate justice: the basis for the next general comment of the CRC Committee on climate justice;
2. Children in the digital environment: the challenges posed by new technologies;
3. Community Empowerment: Towards Broader and Closer Community Involvement - Restorative Juvenile Justice.
UNODC was represented by Alexandra Martins, Coordinator of the Global Programme to End Violence Against Children. During her intervention, Ms. Martins stated: 'Remote technology can serve the interests of society and children when applied in full respect of child justice principles and within a legal, institutional and policy framework that provides for the necessary safeguards.' Since 2015, the Global Programme to END VAC supports countries in the design and implementation of effective interventions that enhance protection mechanisms and improve child justice systems.
Given the multiple current challenges, and related uprising of economic, social and climatic crises, child experts and advocated have the opportunity to rethink child justice systems to take all efforts to ensure that child rights and child protection are mainstreamed in broad developmental and rule of law efforts.