Uruguay’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) will take place in Geneva in January 2014; its pre-session was held this November, in Geneva. During the pre-session, organised by UPR.info, many civil society organisations drew attention to several child rights issues, in particular: sexual abuse and exploitation, child poverty, access to education and child participation. It was also reported that the situation of children in detention was of particular concern: notwithstanding Uruguay has adhered to relevant international and regional instruments concerning juvenile justice, deprivation of liberty remains a primary solution and not a last resort with children often remaining victims of ill-treatment. Public policies and structures are lacking, and a national referendum planned for October 2014 aims to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility even more.
Based on these facts, the following recommendations concerning children and justice were put forward:
- conduct more investigations about ill-treatment of children in detention;
- consider imprisonment as a measure of last resort and for the minimum necessary period;
- aim to reintegrate children into society;
- guarantee that all allegations of torture are investigated transparently;
- guarantee effective participation of children and a decision that takes into account the best interest of the child.
DCI will be working in Geneva to make sure State representatives within the Human Rights Council push for these important recommendations concerning children and justice to be accepted by the Uruguayan government during the UPR of Uruguay in the new year.