IACHR Publishes Report on Juvenile Justice and Human Rights in the Americas
September 7, 2011
Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) today is publishing its Report on Juvenile Justice and Human Rights in the Americas, which identifies international human rights standards that should be observed by juvenile justice systems in the Americas.
In the report, the Commission expresses its concern over the weaknesses of the region's juvenile justice systems, due to the gap between rhetoric and the reality faced by children and adolescents accused of breaking the law. The Commission analyzes how, with the exception of a few examples of best practices, the hemisphere's juvenile justice systems are characterized by discrimination, violence, a lack of specialization, and the abuse of measures involving deprivation of liberty.
In the report, the Commission urges the States to move toward abolishing prison sentences for children and adolescents, and makes recommendations designed to strengthen the institutions, laws, polices, programs, and practices having to do with juvenile justice in the region.
To produce this report, the IACHR carried out visits to various countries in the region; consulted governmental, nongovernmental, and academic sources; organized regional consultations; and prepared a questionnaire, which was filled out by governments, civil society representatives, and experts. The IACHR thanks the Member States and civil society members for their cooperation in preparing this report, an effort made possible thanks to the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the IACHR, the Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The IACHR also received financial support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the organization Save the Children-Sweden, and Luxembourg. The Commission would also like to recognize the cooperation of the office of the UN Special Representative on Violence against Children.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this matter. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.