Humanities & Social Sciences Inspiring Children's Futures

Justice for Children - Justice for All

A group of internationally recognised organisations working on children’s rights issues have partnered to oversee the development of a global initiative with the ultimate aim of achieving justice for all children, without discrimination.

‘Justice for Children, Justice for All: The Challenge to Achieve SDG16+’ was commissioned by Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies’ Task Force on Justice to highlight the distinct realities of justice for children internationally and inform next steps for the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 16, which aims to promote peaceful, inclusive societies for sustainable development and provide access to justice for all.

Central to the initiative is the Justice for Children Call to Action, a new starting point to place children at the heart of an emerging global movement for justice. This summarises the key messages from the background Challenge Paper on Justice for Children.

A Justice for Children Call to Action Launch Reception will be held at the Human Rights Council on July 4, 2019, at the Palais de Nations, home of the United Nations Office at Geneva. This reception will be hosted by The Permanent Representation of Belgium to the UN and The Permanent Representation of the Republic of Botswana to the UN. Further details will be announced in due course.

This Justice for Children project is led by CELCIS - Inspiring Children’s Futures at the University of Strathclyde; and developed and written with the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children; and the Child Justice Advocacy Group, coordinated by Terre des hommes and Defence for Children International.

A Technical Working Group made up of global experts on justice for children has advised and richly informed this work.

Key global themes

The Call to Action highlights the distinct realities of justice for children internationally and inform next steps for the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 16, which aims to promote peaceful, inclusive societies for sustainable development and provide access to justice for all. It outlines the key themes globally where children's rights are not being met, in the context of the justice system, and where justice systems can be better used to prevent injustice to children globally. It targets those who determine, design and implement national and local strategy for the promotion of justice for children and young people. It has a strong focus on delivery and aims to inject yet more momentum to bring about policies and programmes that enable rapid improvements for children and young people, in keeping with the UN Convention the Rights of the Child.

'Leaving no one behind'

Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Violence Against Children, said: "Countless children involved with the justice system have a history of exposure to violence. In many states, the justice system is still being used as a substitute to weak or non-existent child protection systems, leading to the stigmatisation and criminalisation of children at risk, including those who are homeless or poor, those living or working on the street, and those who have fled home as a result of violence."

Professor Jennifer Davidson, Executive Director of CELCIS and Inspiring Children’s Futures, said: "The Sustainable Development Goals commit to ‘leaving no one behind’ but this cannot be fulfilled if the rights of children – and justice for all children – are not made a reality.

"Justice systems affect children in many ways; children are rights holders and can be human rights defenders, but also, children may be victims, witnesses, or accused of an offences, or because intervention is required for their care and protection, and in each of these contexts, children must have access to specialist and differentiated justice systems that are in line with their stage of development, and recognise international law. Only then will children experience meaningful justice, and be adequately protected from injustice.

“It is so important to stress that this is something that affects us all, not just children - by creating justice for children everywhere, and leaving no one behind, we are creating a fairer, safer world and society for us all to live in and flourish.

We're delighted to be commissioned to undertake this work and we look forward to undertaking this remarkable piece of global influencing work alongside our partners."

Can you help?

The team are currently seeking endorsement for the Call to Action from organisations across the world to ensure the project receives global acclaim and support in sharing the Call to Action key messages and responses, highlighting the distinctive needs and rights of children, and promoting the substantive and meaningful delivery of enhanced justice for children throughout the world.

To submit your organisational endorsement please click here to complete a simple form to confirm this, and to attach your organisational logo.

Thank you in advance for your support to this project, and for joining a growing global effort an important momentum for progress to be made for justice – for all.

Any enquiries should go to iicf-enquiries@strath.ac.uk

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