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Reforming Afghanistan's juvenile justice

Jul 11, 2008

Justice for Children by AIHRC and UNICEF reveals that despite adopting the Juvenile Code in 2005, Afghanistan is still following a punitive approach towards its children. The report urges the government to invest more to prevent children coming in conflict with the law and focus on rehabilitation.

Justice for Children: The situation for children in conflict with the law in Afghanistan

Publisher: Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) and UNICEF, 2008

There has been increasing attention by the government of Afghanistan and civil society to juvenile justice reform in the country in recent years. The adoption of the Afghan Juvenile Code in 2005 is the first major step in the development of the administration of juvenile justice.

Yet, there remain gaps between the Juvenile Code and the international standards and norms on children in conflict with the law.

The report shows that children in detention continue to face rights violations including maltreatment, lack of access to education and health services. A punitive and retributive approach to juvenile justice seems to be still predominant in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan still has a long way before achieving full compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CEC) regularly in the areas of prevention of juvenile offending, diversion and the use of deprivation of liberty only as a measure of last resort.

Also, lack of due process in juvenile justice system appears to be a serious concern.

The study was initiated in order to assist the government of Afghanistan in fulfilling their duties towards children in conflict with law and also to urge for full implementation of the Juvenile Code.

The authors strongly advocate for measures to prevent and reduce detention or imprisonment of children and prevention programmes involving vulnerable families, communities and children at risk

The report highlights the need to invest more to prevent children coming into conflict with the law than just to assist children already in detention.

The authors hope that the present study will offer a basic dataset and tool to further develop assessment, evaluation and service and policy for children in conflict with the law in Afghanistan.

Source : UNICEF
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