Third Meeting of the APCJJ Subcommittee for ASEAN

The Third Meeting of the APCJJ Subcommitte for ASEAN was held in the context of the National Symposium on Ending Violence against Children in the Juvenile Justice System (June 28-30, Bangkok, Thailand).

The National Symposium started with an opening ceremony officiated by the Minister of Justice of Thailand, Mr. Suwaphan Tanyuvardhana. He gave the keynote address on bringing positive changes to the lives of children in contact with the law, using the United Nations Model Strategies and Practical Measures on the Elimination of Violence against children in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice.

His speech was followed by the symbolic opening of the event, when the representatives of the main organisations involved in its organisation stood up together on stage and kicked off the meeting.

The opening ceremony was followed by an exhibition of photography in relation to the programmes implemented in Thailand for the protection of children in the juvenile justice system.

Following that, the National Symposium began with presentations offering an international context on the matter. Ms Silvia Randazzo, child rights expert currently working as a project manager at the IJJO, who provided an overview of the UN minimum standards for children deprived of liberty, and presented some practical tools for monitoring and reporting human rights violations against children in detention: the IJJO indicators, created in 2010, and the practical monitoring guide developed by Defence for Children International.

She finally presented the case study of the monitoring and reporting system developed in Kenya, between 2014 and 2016 during a project where IJJO was partnering with CEFA Kenya, on strengthening human rights violations in correctional facilities.

After that, Ms Federica Piovesana, International Criminal Law Advisor (Organized Crime and Violence against Children) at the Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ), commented on the violence against children in Southeast Asia, focusing on a study called ‘Old stories and new remedies’ that has just been launched.

The afternoon started with a presentation by Prof. Satoshi Minoura, from the UN Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFEI), who provided a special focus on the role of the community in juvenile reintegration, the volunteer probation officers (VPO) and the halfway houses system in Japan. Prof. Dr. Saisuree Chutikul, from the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC), and Mr Isra Sunthornvut, from the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), then proceeded to an explanation regarding the implementation of the ASEAN Regional Plan of Action on the Elimination of Violence against Children in different juvenile justice systems.

Mr Stephen Blight, UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office, proceeded to present an analysis of domestic laws related to violence against children in ASEAN Member States. Reaching the end of the Conference, Mr Ratirose Supaporn and Ms Sussi Prapakranant, of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN), presented a report by the APRRN and Save the Children titled “Unlocking Childhood: Current immigration detention practices and alternatives for child asylum seekers and refugees in Asia and the Pacific,” as well as a brief video about migrant children in detention in Asia.

Subsequently, Ms. Rowena Legaspi-Medina, executive director at the Children’s Legal Rights and Development Centre (Philippines), presented the current situation regarding her country’s juvenile justice system and the next steps her organisation is intending to take in order to guarantee children’s rights.

The day then reached its end with Mr. Cédric Foussard, IJJO International Affairs director, and Ms Raquel Jiménez Martos, IJJO Projects and Research director, who presented the report of the Second Meeting of the APCJJ Subcommittee for ASEAN, which took place in June 2016. The report covers the presentations of experts on cross-border safeguards for children in conflict with the law in the ASEAN region, as well as strategies for eliminating violence against children (VAC) in conflict with the law, and the conditions and forms of deprivation of liberty of children.

After this presentation, Mr. Foussard and Ms Jiménez Martos introduced the plan of action for the APCJJ Subcommittee for ASEAN, with a particular focus on the sub-group focusing on restorative justice.