IDLO’s Judit Arenas* has highlighted the rule-of-law aspects of securing justice for children in the developing world. Speaking at an EU-UNICEFconference in Brussels, she described children as highly vulnerable.
Children's access to justice is both a right in itself and a means to restore rights that have been disregarded or violated. It also enables the realization of human rights as laid out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Without effective access to justice, children remain vulnerable to abuses from family, society and the state. They are less likely to receive education, health care and social protection. Conflict, exploitation, disasters natural or man-made, and the frequent opacity of institutions to children's concerns take an enormous toll.
IDLO's vision is one where justice systems serve and protect children, through specialized and responsive personnel and legal instruments, from birth through adulthood.
With a view to replacing a culture of violence in Honduras with one of legality, IDLO has outlined a program to reduce violent acts and homicides through better access to justice. Work, carried out in partnership with national institutions and civil society organizations, will focus specifically on vulnerable groups, including women, children, youth and people in detention. The program is financed by the US Department of State.
IDLO has partnered with UNICEF to gain a deeper understanding of the use of diversion and alternative measures to detention for children in conflict with the law. This seven-month project in Jordan, Sudan and Tunisia will conclude in 2015.
IDLO has partnered with UNICEF to study the factors which support or inhibit children’s equitable access to justice in post-communist societies. The nine-month research project in Albania, Montenegro, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan will conclude in 2014. It will provide greater insight into local realities, concerns and approaches, and make culturally appropriate, sustainable and effective recommendations for policy and programming.