Afghanistan juvenile justice system must be reformed: study

[JURIST] The Afghan juvenile justice system is in serious need of reform, according to a study [PDF] conducted by the Afghan Independent Human Right Commission (AIHRC) [official website] in collaboration with United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) [official website]. The report, released on Thursday, says that child detainees in Afghanistan face ongoing rights violations and are deprived of access to education, legal services, and health care. One of the worst problems in the country’s juvenile justice system is reportedly its inability to ensure due process:

Only 8% of juveniles were explained their rights upon arrest. 56% of respondents reported that they had not given their statement voluntarily, while only 38% of juveniles had seen ‘their’ statement. In detention only 23% of respondents had access to a lawyer (17% of males and 62% of females) while in court this increased to only 38% of juveniles having a defence lawyer. In relation to their status as juveniles, only 7% were presented before a children’s court, while only 8% of children had a parent, guardian or social worker present when their statement was taken, and only 43% had a parent or guardian present during the trial.
The UN Press Centre has more.

The study calls on the government of Afghanistan [JURIST news archive] to fully implement the Juvenile Code [PDF], a body of procedural law for dealing with children in the criminal justice system, which was adopted by the government in March 2005. The Juvenile Code incorporates the basic principles of juvenile justice as expressed in the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child [text], including non-discrimination (Article 2), participation (Article 12) and reintegration (Article 6).


 

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