Today at the United Nations Office in Geneva, Defence for Children International (DCI), in collaboration with partner NGOs*, hosts the official launch of the Call for a Global study on CHILDREN Deprived of liberty. This event is supported by the Permanent Missions of Austria, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, State of Qatar, Eastern Republic of Uruguay; and includes the participation of Ms. Marta Santos Pais, United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children and Ms. Renate Winter, UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
The Call for a Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty derives from the need to comprehensively collect data and statistics from across regions on the number and situation of children in detention; share good practices; and formulate recommendations for effective measures to prevent human rights violations against children in detention and reduce the number of children deprived of liberty.
Deprivation of liberty has very negative consequences for the child’s harmonious development and is to be a “measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time”. Children deprived of liberty are exposed to increased risks of abuse, violence, acute social discrimination and denial of their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights; certain disadvantaged groups are more affected than others; and society is affected at large as deprivation of liberty tends to increase social exclusion, recidivism rates, and public expenditure.
The Study will take into account deprivation of liberty in all its forms, including: children in conflict with the law; children confined due to physical or mental health or drug use; children living in detention with their parents; immigration detention; children detained for their protection; national security; etc. In order to ensure that deprivation of liberty is clearly understood and thus used as a measure of last resort, there is also critical need to improve the clarity around key concepts which are related to children’s rights and deprivation of liberty.