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Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty

“Children who are deprived of liberty fall into a statistical vacuum, with numbers of these children potentially ranging anywhere from the tens of thousands to the millions” – Jan Eliasson, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General

The UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty is the main focus of our work on children deprived of liberty. The Study will shed light on the scale and conditions of children deprived of liberty, identifying good practices and making recommendations for effective measures to prevent human rights violations against children in detention and reduce the number of children deprived of liberty.

Defence for Children International led the campaign calling for the Study and currently co-convenes the NGO Panel.

The Study, which officially started in 2017, is led by Professor Manfred Nowak, professor of international law and human rights and former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, who was appointed as the Independent Expert on 25 October 2016.


Aim of the Study

The Global Study will accomplish the following:

  • Collect qualitative and quantitative data to document the situation of children deprived of liberty, in all its forms;
  • Assess the implementation of applicable international laws and standards, and the effectiveness of existing approaches;
  • Identify alternative approaches to deprivation of liberty;
  • Formulate recommendations for action at national, regional and international level to meet international obligations, reduce the number of children deprived of liberty, and put in place effective non-custodial measures.

Thematic Clusters

The Study will include children deprived of liberty in the following contexts:

  • Administration of justice
  • Living in places of detention with their parents
  • Migration
  • Institutions
  • Armed conflict
  • National security

 “Without Defence for Children International, there would be no Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty”

Professor Manfred Nowak, Independent Expert leading the Global Study
Professor Manfred Nowak

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