NEW DELHI, India, 11 August 2014 – UNICEF is concerned about the recent Union Cabinet approval of the Juvenile Justice Act amendment to empower the Juvenile Justice Board to decide whether a juvenile above the age of 16 years involved in a heinous crime is to be tried in a regular court.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child, and international standards on juvenile justice such as the Riyadh Guidelines and Beijing Rules, suggest establishing special rules of procedure for children.
“Worldwide, evidence shows that the process of judicial waiver or transfer of juvenile cases to adult courts have not resulted in reduction of crime or recidivism. Instead, investments in a working system of treatment and rehabilitation of children have shown to lead to better results in reducing recidivism,” says Louis-Georges Arsenault, UNICEF India Country Representative.
Mr. Arsenault confirmed UNICEF will continue supporting the Government of India in strengthening its juvenile justice system. This includes advocating for reformative measures for all children up to age 18 irrespective of the nature of their offence and ensuring clear regulations on maximum sentences for children with guaranteed periodic reviews of sentences and revision of orders.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the Government of India and other partners to strengthen child protection systems to support families including preventing children from coming into conflict with the law,” says Mr. Arsenault.
With the enactment of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act in 2000, some of India’s juvenile justice legislations were brought in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and international standards. The Act focuses on some key principles of juvenile justice: deprivation of liberty as last resort, restorative and reformative justice, diversion and alternative sentencing, and separate protection structures and qualified personnel.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.