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Sunday 22nd of October 2017

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European Policies on Juvenile Justice

The European Union is a ceaselessly changing entity that was once qualified by Jacques Delors, a former President of the European Commission, as an “unidentified political object”.

As a matter of fact, keeping up with the initiatives undertaken by European institutions or by other relevant stakeholders, such as NGOs or UN bodies, like UNICEF, can easily get someone in a tangle.

Thus, the International Juvenile Justice Observatory, conjointly with its European branch, the European Juvenile Justice Observatory, took the initiative to compile a series of relevant measures, policies and decisions developed or drafted by various actors (European Union institutions, Council of Europe, UNICEF, NGOs, etc.) in order to underline the link between the work of the two Observatories and the very topics discussed at a European level.

These will encompass any initiatives related to juvenile justice, but will also take into consideration decisions developed in other related areas, such as the championing of children rights or the fight against social exclusion.

2011

  • 2011 – The European Year of Volunteering! - January 1st 2011.

    Around 100 million Europeans regularly volunteer and to get more people involved in volunteering is the key aim of defying 2011 as the European Year of Volunteering. Awareness raising and practical help for voluntary organizations were developed throughout the year, and as part of the Alliance for the 2011 European Year of Volunteering, the European Juvenile Justice Observatory took part in such initiatives. It indeed developed an awareness campaign emphasizing the benefits brought by volunteering to the youth in terms of experience, added value to a CV, involvement in the community, etc. The campaign can be found online at:eyvcampaign.ejjo.org.

     

  • The EU Agenda for the Rights of the Child - February 15th 2011.

    The EU Agenda for the Rights of the Child aims to reinforce the full commitment of the EU - as enshrined in the Treaty of Lisbon and the Charter of Fundamental Rights - to promote, protect and fulfill the rights of the child in all relevant EU policies and actions. This agenda includes 11 concrete actions where the EU can contribute in an effective way to children's well-being and safety, and includes, among other, the will to promote the use of the 2010 Council of Europe Guidelines on Child-Friendly Justice.

    ec.europa.eu/justice/fundamental-rights/rights-child/eu-agenda/index_en.htm

     

  • European Parliament – Plenary sessions. Human rights: Uganda, Yemen, Thai-Cambodian border - February 17th 2011.

    Discrimination against homosexuals in Uganda, the persecution of juvenile offenders in Yemen and border clashes between Thailand and Cambodia were all the subject of urgent debates and resolutions at the European Parliament.

    More broadly, Parliament urges the Yemeni government to stop executing juvenile offenders under 18, since this breaches both Yemeni law and the country's obligations under international human rights agreements. Yemen often has problems in determining the age of juvenile offenders, since many, like Muhammed Taher, do not have a birth certificate. His execution was first scheduled for last December and then put on hold following pressure from the international community.

    www.europarl.europa.eu/pdfs/news/expert/infopress/20110216IPR13786/20110216IPR13786_en.pdf

     

  • Launch of the European Parliament ‘Alliance for Children’ - April 6th 2011.

    The European Parliament has launched a new ‘Alliance for Children’ in partnership with UNICEF and a group of international non-governmental organizations – the Children’s Rights Action Group – which includes Save the Children, Plan International, Eurochild and the European Juvenile Justice Observatory.

    The alliance is an informal, cross-party effort by parliamentarians coming together to raise the profile of children’s issues in the European Parliament. It aims to create synergies across committees and incorporate children’s rights into the mainstream work of the legislative body.

    In this respect, this alliance facilitates the work of the European Juvenile Justice Observatory, when it comes to raising the awareness of the European Parliament and supporting the rights of young offenders.

    www.unicef.org/policyanalysis/index_58231.html

     

  • High-Level conference organized by the European Commission, together with the Hungarian Presidency of the Council of the EU and the support of Missing Children Europe, on European responses to missing children and the need for child-friendly justice - May the 25th and 26th 2011.

    ec.europa.eu/justice/newsroom/fundamental-rights/events/110525_en.htm

     

  • Consultation launched by the Commission on a Green Paper dealing with criminal justice legislation in the field of detention - June 2011.

    EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding presented a Green Paper on June the 14th asking 10 questions on how to strengthen mutual trust in the field of detention. Detention conditions and periods vary widely between EU countries. While national governments are solely responsible for detention issues and prison management, it is the European Commission's role to make sure judicial cooperation in the EU works and fundamental rights are respected when EU mutual recognition instruments – such as the European Arrest Warrant – are implemented. The 8th question dealt specifically with children rights asking if there were any specific alternatives measures to detention that could be developed in respect of children. The European Juvenile Justice Observatory takes part in this consultation, which will end on November the 30th 2011.

    europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/11/702&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

     

  • European Commission proposes to make 2013 the "European Year of Citizens" - August 11th 2011.

    Union citizenship and the rights that go with it are one of the key pillars of the European Union. As we mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of Union citizenship under the Maastricht Treaty, on 1 November 1993, the European Commission proposed to designate 2013 as the "European Year of Citizens".

    20 years after the creation of Union citizenship, tangible progress has been made that directly affects the lives of millions. To take just one example: nowadays travelling abroad entails cheaper travel costs, hassle-free border crossings, package holiday guarantees, access to healthcare systems and cheaper calls when you phone home. These are just some of the benefits derived from EU citizenship. The Commission's goal is to make sure that we remove the remaining hurdles people face when exercising their rights abroad.

    europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/11/959&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

     

  • Roadmap proposed by the Commission and dealing with legislative proposal on special safeguards in criminal procedures for suspected or accused persons who are vulnerable - Launched in September 2011 and expected to be adopted in May 2012.

    As part of the Procedural roadmap launched by the Council in 2009, this new initiative aims at narrowing the disparities in protection across Member States with regards to protection for children and other vulnerable suspects and accused persons in criminal proceedings. To this extent, the Commission is willing to learn more about good practices throughout the European Union in order to issue standards that will strengthen the fairness of criminal proceedings for the most vulnerable ones, children included.

    ec.europa.eu/governance/impact/planned_ia/docs/2012_just_016_vulnerable_persons_en.pdf

     

  • On the European Platform against poverty and social exclusion, the European Parliament called, among others, for the fight against child poverty - October 24th2011.

    To this extent, it claims that attention should be paid to the provision of equal access to high-quality early childhood education and childcare services, in order to prevent children from starting school life with multiple disadvantages. Moreover, the Parliament called for a greater financial support for services having proven their worth, as well as for the systematic integration of policies designed to support poor families into all relevant areas of activity. The latter often include vulnerable families, such as the ones with disabled children, single-parent families or families with large number of children. Furthermore, the EP pointed out that thousands of children are separated from their parents as a result of their living conditions (lack of housing) or because their parents are living in severe poverty (material, social and cultural) and have not received the necessary support to help them fulfill their parental responsibilities.

    Lastly, the EP emphasized that the fight against poverty requires a holistic and consistent approach, embracing all policy areas; also points out that it is particularly important to step up action at both European and national level with a view to preventing and combating this problem.

    www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&reference=A7-2011-0370&format=XML&language=EN

     

  • Commission’s initiative to strengthen the justice and fundamental rights dimension of future EU budgets - November 15th 2011.

    The European Commission decided to strengthen and simplify the funding programmes supporting the elaboration of an EU area of Justice. These programmes, the Justice Programme and the Rights and Citizenship Programme, will support the EU's actions to improve European cooperation on civil and criminal law, allow people to better exercise their rights as EU citizens and promote equality. They will also help to reinforce the EU's efforts to fight crime, tackle drugs demand and supply and safeguard the rights of people (such as accused persons or victims of crime) when in criminal proceedings. To this extent, the Rights and Citizenship Programme, with a budget of €387 million, will for instance help to make people's rights and freedoms effective in practice by making them better known and more consistently applied across the EU. It will also promote the rights of the child, the principles of non discrimination (racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation) and gender equality (including projects to combat violence against women and children).

    europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/11/1349&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

     

  • EU takes action to combat sexual abuse of children and child pornography: The Council of the European Union - November 15th 2011.

    The Council adopted a directive aimed at combating sexual abuse and exploitation of children as well as child pornography (PE-CONS 51/11). The directive will harmonize around twenty relevant criminal offences, at the same time setting high level of penalties. The new rules which have to be transposed into national law within two years also include provisions to fight against online child pornography and sex tourism. They also aim to prevent convicted pedophiles moving to another EU member state from exercising professional activities involving regular contacts with children. Finally, the directive introduces measures to protect the child victim during investigations and legal proceedings.

    www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/jha/126068.pdf

     

  • Communication from the European Parliament - adopted on November the 17th 2011 .

    The European Parliament welcomed the EU's and individual Member States' financial and logistical support for the International Criminal Court (ICC) and recommended that current forms of support are continued, especially in the following fields: outreach activities aimed at helping victims and affected communities; legal representation; witness relocation; the participation and protection of victims/witnesses, with special consideration for the needs of women and juvenile/child victims; the provision of support enabling the Court to cover urgent operational needs stemming from new investigations; etc.

    Furthermore, the European Parliament underlined the fundamental role of international criminal jurisdictions in fighting impunity and addressing the relevant violations of international law concerning the illegal use and recruitment of child soldiers and pointed out the importance of safeguarding their rights to a peaceful childhood, education, physical integrity, safety and sexual autonomy.

    www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&reference=P7-TA-2011-0507&format=XML&language=EN

     

  • EU Platform for Roma inclusion - 6th and latest meeting: November 17th – 18th 2011.

    The European Platform for Roma inclusion (or European Roma Platform) was created to support policy developments for Roma integration and stimulate exchanges and coordination among Member States, international organizations and Roma civil society. When it comes to children, the Platform especially cares about the education about the youngest members of the Roma community. At this point, the goal of the European Union is to make sure that all Roma children complete primary school. As a matter of fact, in education, Roma children have lower attainments and often face discrimination and segregation in schooling. Although the situation differs between EU countries, a survey by the Open Society Institute in six EU countries (Bulgaria, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia) found that only 42% of Roma children complete primary school, compared to an average of 97.5% for the general population across the EU as a whole.

    ec.europa.eu/justice/events/roma-platform/index.html

     

  • European Forum on the Rights of the Child - 6th edition: November 23rd 2011.

    This Forum is an annual conference organized by the European Commission since 2007 following the adoption of the 2006 Commission Communication “Towards an EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child”. The Forum aims at advising and assisting the Commission and other European institutions, in particular regarding the mainstreaming of children’s rights across all EU policies. Moreover, it is a space where its members can exchange information and good practices. These members are: representatives of the 27 Member States, EU Ombudspersons for children, the Committee of the Regions, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Council of Europe, UNICEF and NGOs involved in the field such as the International Juvenile Justice Observatory.

    ec.europa.eu/justice/events/child-forum/index.html

     

  • Committee of the Regions – Commission ECOS (Economic and Social Policy) – Communication from the Commission on a European Platform against Poverty - 2011.

    Over 80 million people in the EU are still living at risk of poverty and a quarter of these citizens are children. The economic crisis has exacerbated this situation, exposing vulnerable groups even more. Against this background, EU leaders have, for the first time ever, set a concrete numerical target to reduce poverty and social exclusion by at least 20 million by 2020 and the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion communication sets out actions to bolster work at all levels to reach this target. Local and regional authorities have a particular role in promoting an effective and inclusive access to social, economic, educational and cultural services for people living in poverty and/or social exclusion, and thereby in framing, funding and carrying out such policies. The draft opinion welcomes in this respect the references to local and regional authorities in the Communication but at the same outlines a number of ways to further ensure their effective participation.

     

  • Committee of the Regions – Commission ECOS (Economic and Social Policy) – Ongoing discussion regarding an EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020

    With its estimated 12 million people, the Roma represent Europe's largest minority. The discrimination, prejudice and social exclusion they face is something unacceptable in 21st century Europe. Moreover, the extreme poverty, substandard housing conditions, poor education, low-paid employment or unemployment, and generally poor social outcomes that a lot of the Roma experience, represent a huge potential wasted and a great opportunity missed for the EU economy. According to the World Bank, the full integration of Roma in the labor market could bring added economic benefits to the amounts of around € 0.5 billion annually to some countries. This Communication proposes the introduction of an EU Framework for national Roma integration strategies which would introduce country-specific goals and comparable indicators for their attainment.

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