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Protecting the rights of the child: Regulating restorative justice and indigenous practices in Southern Sudan and East Timor

Banks, Cyndi
June 4, 2015

Source: (2011) International journal of Children’s Rights 19 167-193

Th e Convention on the Rights of the Child has globalized child rights and child protection by setting
international norms, which include a mandate to apply restorative justice practices in juvenile
justice laws and procedures. In some states, restorative justice has long been a practice in communities
and legislating to give eff ect to the CRC has involved codifying, modifying and regulating
existing community restorative practices with the intention of incorporating adaptations of those
practices under new laws. In Southern Sudan and East Timor, both of which have suff ered extreme
violence and confl ict, lifestyles are predominately traditional and values and beliefs concerning family
and children, remain rooted in custom. Both have drafted laws that attempt to incorporate traditional
restorative practices and give eff ect to the norms of the Convention. Examining the
provisions of each proposed law reveals how culture will be enacted and regulated for the benefi t of
children and the extent to which the international rights discourse embodied in these proposed laws
is congruent with customary and traditional values and beliefs about children. A comparative examination
of the two draft laws, contextualized according to local cultures, provides insights into
policy choices about the incorporation of culture and the relationship between international norms
of child protection and traditional restorative practices.


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