Source: Bangkok: UNICEF, United Nations Children’s Fund, East Asia and Pacific Regional Office. Downloaded 21 February 2005.
Juvenile justice is an issue that affects children in many circumstances: criminal activities; poverty; abuse; and exploitation. UNICEF has committed to supporting efforts to improve justice for children. A key principle in its efforts is that detention should be a last resort for children. In 2001 UNICEF conducted an overview of juvenile justice in East Asia and the Pacific Region (EAP). Despite many improvements in legislation in countries surveyed, many children continue to be arrested and convicted for petty crimes as first time offenders. Many of them are kept in custodial situations, and often the custodial situations are inappropriate and harmful to children. A number of countries in EAP are striving to bring their juvenile justice systems in line with international standards, including the safeguarding of the basic rights of children who come into contact with the law. This document reviews past and current programs in countries in the region to highlight initiatives to improve juvenile justice. Major topics and programs covered in the report include the following: the legal framework for children; legal assistance for children; diversion and restorative justice; rehabilitation and reintegration; and challenges and lessons learned.
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