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Children as Victims and Perpetrators of Crime and the United Nations Criminal Justice Programme: From Standard Setting Towards Implementation and Action (UN), 1995

The Ninth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders,

Bearing in mind the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice, the United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency, and the United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty,

Recognizing that children should enjoy the guarantees, protection and benefit of all human rights recognized in various United Nations instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant

on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the Convention on the Rights of the Child,

Noting that the Convention on the Rights of the Child had been ratified by 174 States as of 21 April 1995,

Also noting the recommendations of the expert group meeting on children and juveniles in detention: application of human rights standards, pursuant to Commission on Human Rights resolution 1993/80, held at Vienna from 30 October to 4 November 1994,

Strongly condemning all forms of violence against children and all other violations of their human rights,

Emphasizing that the protection of human rights is a significant consideration within the criminal justice system as a whole, and particularly with regard to children,

Welcoming the role of specialized agencies, non-governmental organizations and the community at large in promoting greater public awareness and more effective action aimed at preventing violence against children, inter alia, by drawing attention to the nature, severity and magnitude of violence against children and by assisting children who are victims of violence,

Recognizing the need for a continuing exchange of information between the various bodies entrusted with the tasks of preventing and combating violence against children,

Convinced that strengthened cooperation at the local, national, regional and international levels is needed to protect children, particularly from becoming victims of crime,

1. Reaffirms the importance of the full implementation of all relevant United Nations human rights instruments in the administration of justice, in particular with regard to children, and the effective use and application of United Nations juvenile justice standards and norms;

2. Recommends that the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice invite the Secretary-General to consider ways of elaborating a programme of action aimed at promoting the effective use and application of those instruments, standards and norms, giving due regard to the work accomplished within the Commission on Human Rights, and in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the United Nations Children's Fund and other agencies and organizations concerned, within existing resources;

3. Calls upon States to support the United Nations crime prevention and criminal justice programme in developing initiatives, approved by the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, to promote universal recognition and effective use and application of these instruments, standards and norms in the administration of justice, in particular with regard to children;

4. Also calls upon States to spare no effort in providing for effective legislative and other mechanisms and procedures, as well as adequate resources, to ensure the effective use and application of those instruments, standards and norms at the national level;

5. Calls upon all States to give due regard to the special situation of children in order to render measures for crime prevention effective;

6. Recommends that the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice consider integrating United Nations standards and norms on juvenile justice into the current process of information-gathering;

7. Urges States that are not yet parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child to become parties to it and urges States that are parties to it to consider withdrawing those reservations that are incompatible with the object and purpose of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and particularly those relevant to the issue of violence against children. Countries which are parties are urged to submit their reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child in a timely manner;




8. Recommends that States, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law and the administration of justice, with regard to children, should enable children to participate, as appropriate, in criminal justice proceedings, including the investigative stage and throughout the trial and post-trial process period, to be heard and given information about their status and any proceedings that might subsequently take place;

9. Requests the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice to invite the Secretary-General to continue including in the various advisory services and technical assistance programmes specific arrangements for technical assistance in the field of criminal justice and the administration of justice, with regard to children. Such assistance may include technical advice in law and criminal justice reform, including the promotion of alterative measures, such as alternatives to custody, diversionary programmes, alternative dispute resolution, restitution, family conferences and community services;

10. Recommends to the Commission that technical cooperation programmes in the field of administration of justice with regard to children should entail appropriate evaluation and follow-up procedures and that United Nations regional institutes, the United Nations Children's Fund, other relevant United Nations bodies, national institutions and non-governmental organizations should be involved as appropriate;

11. Invites States, in cooperation with the relevant United Nations bodies and institutions, to develop multidisciplinary training, taking into account national and international instruments, standards and norms with respect to juvenile justice and human rights for law enforcement personnel and other professionals concerned with children. Training should further include information on child development, improving communication with children, increasing knowledge on available facilities for their treatment and rehabilitation of child victims and offenders;

12. Recommends that States ensure that all structures, procedures and programmes in the administration of justice with regard to child offenders should promote assistance to allow children to take responsibility for their actions and to encourage, inter alia, reparation, mediation and restitution, especially for the direct victims of the crime;

13. Calls upon States to explore measures to ensure compliance with the principle that the deprivation of liberty should only be used as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time, both before trial and after conviction, bearing in mind the high rate of children on remand and the considerable amount of time they must often spend in custody;

14. Recommends that States, together with national and international organizations, explore means to foster the independent monitoring of juvenile detention and other custodial facilities, specifically the conditions under which children are deprived of their liberty, focusing on, inter alia, access of relatives, public institutions, other duly authorized persons and organizations, including non-governmental organizations, to such facilities, the problem of overcrowding, educational and vocational training, the amount of physical exercise and other activities and the frequency and seriousness of physical and sexual assault and self inflicted injuries and suicide;

15. Calls upon all States, as well as intergovernmental bodies and non-governmental organizations, in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and taking into consideration the United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency, to take all possible steps to eliminate violence against children, including in the family, whether such violence is perpetrated or condoned by the State or by individuals;

16. Urges States and relevant international bodies to promote research, collect data and compile statistics relating to the extent and incidence of different forms of violence against children, including the phenomenon of their exploitation and of their use as instruments in criminal activities, and to encourage research on their causes, nature, seriousness and consequences and on the effectiveness of measures implemented to prevent and redress such violence;

17. Also urges States to study and exchange information on the extent to which the experiences of violence suffered by children contribute to their subsequent criminal or deviant behaviour and/or mental health problems;

18. Urges States to develop and implement prevention and early intervention and treatment programmes for perpetrators and victims to treat all effects of violence, in order to seek to put an end to the cycle in which abusive behaviour is transmitted from generation to generation;




19. Further urges States, in order to eliminate all forms of violence against children, to adopt, in the absence of existing laws, initiatives including:

(a) Legislation to impose effective sanctions on perpetrators of acts of violence against children;

(b) Measures to reduce the wrong suffered by children who are subjected to violence;

(c) Measures to facilitate the in-court proceedings of child victims of violence and provisions for assistance services for child witnesses and victims;

(d) Measures to investigate properly acts of violence against children;

(e) Measures to prohibit the sexual abuse and exploitation of children, including the exploitation of children for the purpose of prostitution;

(f) Measures to prohibit traditional practices prejudicial to the health of children, including female genital mutilation;

(g) Measures to prohibit, in accordance with national legal systems, the production, possession, distribution and import of pornographic material involving children;

(h) Intervention programmes and treatment services to modify, always taking into consideration their human rights, the behaviour of offenders and at the same time ensuring the safety of children subjected to violence;

(i) Legislation to regulate the acquisition (with emphasis on safeguards concerning the furnishing by adults of firearms to children), the storage in the home and use of firearms;

(j) Measures to facilitate education in positive and non-violent child-caring practices.

20. Further urges States to ensure that children subjected to violence have access to assistance that meets their needs, such as, inter alia, access to support services, including legal assistance, to economic assistance, to counselling and to health and social services in order to promote their safety and physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration;

21. Further urges States to develop programmes in schools that promote non-violence, mutual respect and tolerance and programmes that enhance students' self confidence and self esteem and that teach students how to resolve their conflicts in a peaceful manner;

22. Requests States to promote and support public education and information activities to heighten public awareness of violence against children and of its criminal nature;

23. Urges States to invite, while respecting the freedom of the media, the media, media associations, media self regulatory bodies, schools and other relevant partners to consider developing appropriate measures and mechanisms such as public education about the media, public awareness campaigns, codes of ethics and self regulatory measures on media violence to contribute to the eradication of violence against children and to enhance respect for their dignity, by discouraging the perpetuation of pro-violence values;

24. Requests States to cooperate at the international level, through the use of bilateral, regional or multilateral mechanisms, in enforcing legislation on violence against children;

25. Invites States to examine ways, consistent with their national legal systems, of ensuring that prosecution of illicit traffic in children and other violent acts against them, including sexual exploitation of children for commercial purposes, committed abroad by one of their nationals, is not prevented by gaps in international cooperation and that these acts are effectively sanctioned;

26. Invites the Commission to initiate the process of requesting the views of States regarding the process of elaborating an international convention on the illicit traffic in children, which may embody necessary elements to efficiently combat this form of transnational organized crime;




27. Urges States to take effective action to protect children from violence in situations of armed conflict, including such forms of violence as murder, torture, rape, sexual slavery and forced pregnancy, by making every effort, inter alia:

(a) To ensure respect for international humanitarian law, as well as international human rights instruments; and

(b) To ensure that children subjected to violence in situations of armed conflict have safe and timely access to assistance by humanitarian organizations;

28. Requests the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice to invite the Secretary-General to consider publishing and widely distributing the draft United Nations manual on juvenile justice, when it has been finalized, by the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Branch of the Secretariat, in cooperation with the Centre for Human Rights, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the Committee on the Rights of the Child and the United Nations Children's Fund;

29. Also requests the Commission to ensure that Strategies for Confronting Domestic Violence: a Resource Manual, which is based on a draft prepared by the Government of Canada, in cooperation with the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Branch of the Secretariat and the European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control affiliated with the United Nations, and currently available in English only, is published in the other official languages of the United Nations, subject to the availability of regular budgetary or extrabudgetary funds;

30. Further requests the Commission to invite the Secretary-General to enhance inter-agency cooperation within the United Nations system in the field of the administration of justice with regard to children by, inter alia, ensuring regular meetings, both at United Nations Headquarters and at the regional and national levels, including the United Nations Children's Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Centre for Human Rights and the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Branch, as well as the Committee on the Rights of the Child and the special rapporteurs concerned;

31. Recommends that the in-sessional working group of the Commission, at its fourth session, should seek ways to develop and undertake practical activities, including training, research and advisory services, to achieve the goal of preventing and eradicating violence against children;

32. Recommends that the Commission consider making the elimination of violence against children one of the priorities to guide the work of the United Nations crime prevention and criminal justice programme in collaboration, inter alia, with the United Nations Children's Fund, the Commission on Human Rights, the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees;

33. Also recommends that the Commission request the Secretary-General to submit a report on the implementation of the present resolution to it at its sixth session.

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