Cabo Verde cooperate with Portugal and UNODC on strengthening its juvenile justice system

     This activity was funded by the European Union

Cabo Verde has faced increasing levels of crime in the recent years, with an adverse impact on the population's perception of security and a sense of impunity among the offenders. New trends and patterns of violence and crime have emerged posing new challenges to both society and authorities. Considering that the majority of the population is young, juvenile crime, if not prevented and combated, could compromise levels of public safety and the commitment to protect children and adolescents, with negatives impacts on their development, and the country's sustainable development in general.

To this end, the Government of Cabo Verde, through the Ministry of Justice, took steps to reform its criminal justice system and requested UNODC technical assistance to reinforce its juvenile justice system.

Within this context, UNODC organized a mission in Portugal, from 19 to 23 February, with a delegation from Cabo Verde consisting of a Social Reintegration Team from the Ministry of Social Justice and Labor, headed by the Director General of prison services and social reintegration, public prosecutors in charge of minor cases and judges in charge of families and minors. The mission aimed at improving the effectiveness of the juvenile justice system operators and thus, promoting the protection of children's rights throughout the criminal justice process. The delegation benefitted from the partnership and expertise of the Portugal Cooperation and the General Direction of the Politics of Justice in Portugal.

Indeed, the Cabo Verdean delegation had important work meetings, presentations of topics and exchanges of experiences with the key sectors of juvenile justice system in Portugal in particular: a detailed analysis of the legislation in force in the field of juvenile justice as well as the programmatic and operational responses in respect to the socio-educational measures applicable to children in conflict with the law as well as in relation to promotion and protection of children and young people.

Picture of the cabo-verdean delegation at the Ministry of Justice in Portugal

Based on the recommendations of the evaluation carried out by UNODC in the area of the juvenile justice system in Cabo Verde in 2011, the Government of Cabo Verde through the Ministry of Justice, UNODC and the European Union Delegation designed a two-fold project to strengthen the juvenile justice system in Cabo Verde while ensuring that the rights of children in conflict with the law are respected in accordance with international standards and national laws. After this mission in Portugal, the next steps of this project will be to organize a national training workshop on the meaningful child participation and alternative measures to judicial proceedings. This training workshop will aim at enhancing the substantive knowledge, developing skills and changing attitudes of participants to be able to carry their professional role and work with children more effectively, focusing in particular on the importance of meaningful child participation and alternative measures to judicial proceedings.

UNODC supports Member States in preventing crime and violence and, in strengthening their justice systems through the implementation of its Regional Programme for West Africa (2016-2020), thus contributing to the Sustainable Development Goal 16 related to justice for all. Additionally, Cabo Verde is one of the pilot countries of UNODC Global Programme on Violence against Children. UNODC is mandated to ensure that Member States effectively implement the UN Model Strategies on Violence Against Children and that that children have access to a fair, transparent, and child-sensitive justice system.

For more information:

UNODC Regional Programme for West Africa (2016-2020) in english and in portuguese