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Friday 15th of December 2017

IJJO Conference

With a wide international appeal, representatives of United Nations and EU Institutions, national, regional and local authorities, universities, NGOs, and other experts coming from more than 50 countries participated in the Fifth IJJO International Conference which took place in London on the 6th and 7th November, under the title “Criminality or social exclusion? Justice for Children in a Divided World”.

This edition of the IJJO International Conference took as central themes the impact of economic global crises on youth justice and youth social, and, related to it, the youth violence and inequality in an urban context as well as the prevention and diversion of children and young people from offending. Moreover, the core of the debate focused on the need to look beyond traditional and individualized approaches working with people in trouble and focus instead upon work with the groups and communities in which they live.

The conference paid particular attention on a number of issues dealing with policy development for socially excluded children and young people in trouble, diversion and inclusion strategies, economic interventions, cost avoidance and value for money services as well as with community-based and multi-agency interventions. In this context, three principal themes were developed during these two days: “A world in crisis: consequences on youth social exclusion and offending”, which was discussed the first day and “Inequality and Youth Violence in group: an urban challenge” and “Young People, Criminality and Solidarity: The Implications for Change” discussed the second day. In the welcome speech, the chairman of the International Juvenile Justice Observatory, Dr. Francisco Legaz mentioned that according to UNODC report there is an increased risk of criminal behavior caused by economic stress and in this context he emphasized that “It is necessary to send a message to the society that the lack of money does not have to result in a lack of inspiration and purpose in life of an entire generation of young people, demonstrating their ability and desire to change the course of history and face challenges, either on public squares or via cyberspace.”

Furthermore, during opening ceremony Prof. Dr. Jaap E. Doek, Former President UN Committee on Rights of the Child (Netherlands) and Mr. John Drew, Chief Executive, Youth Justice Board for England and Wales (United Kingdom) draw the attention to the need of preserving social care for children in conflict with the law from the public funding cuts. During the two-day conference, more than 350 assistants and 70 speakers from around the world discussed the issues related to prevention of the exclusion of children and the development of a child friendly juvenile justice. There were a great number of representatives from the Ministries of Justice, such as for instance, from Chile (SENAME), France, Italy, Turkey, Thailand and the US, as well as from international NGO’s, such as the President of Campaign for Youth Justice, Ms. Elizabeth P. Ryan, and from DCI, the IPJJ, etc. Representatives from international organizations (Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Secretary-General on Violence against Children, Council of Europe) also took part in this international event.

Particularly interesting was the presentation of Prof. Dr. John M. Hagedorn, who is Professor of Criminology, Law & Justice, University of Illinois-Chicago, United States and who was one of the most important experts on youth gangs, participating in the Conference. The IJJO has also the pleasure to count on the participation of personalities who have made important contribution to the protection of children’s rights in different part of the world – among others, Mrs. Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, Former Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe (France) who talked about “Violence in Europe: are our children the scapegoats or the heroes of the 21st century?”; Mr David Mugawe, Director of the African Child Policy Forum, who provided the audience with an excellent overview of the situation of youth in Africa, Mr. Han Kyun Kim, the representative of South Korea and associate Professor of the Korean Institute of Criminology KIC, who made an interesting presentation on the "Reform of Juvenile Justice in Korea - Protective Dispositions for Juvenile Offenders", and Prof. Sir Albert Aynsley Green, former Commissioner for England from United Kingdom, who spoke during the closing ceremony. An excellent presentation on the issue of youth Justice and cost-avoidance was given by Prof. Dr. Shay Bilchik, Director of the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University's Public Policy Institute, United State.

The 5th IJJO International conference had an important and extensive Scientific Committee with both Prof. John Pitts from the University Bedfordshire (UK) and Prof. Dr. Frieder Dünkel, Head Department of Criminology at the University Greifswald, Germany, as chairmen of this Committee. Finally, an excellent work of compiling information and drafting the conclusions of the Conference was made by Prof. Dr. Frieder Dünkel. It is also important to mention that within the framework of the Fifth IJJO International Conference, the Observatory awarded the Second Edition of the IJJO International Award ‘Juvenile Justice without Borders’.

The Honorific Award was given to Mr. Georges Loinger, a French Second World War survivor. Through this award the IJJO recognises the work of those institutions and personalities that have contributed to the outstanding progress and achievements in the field of the protection of children’s rights, as well as in the area of research and direct intervention with children and youth in conflict with the law.

 
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With financial support from the Criminal Justice
Programme of the European Union
 
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