Thematic Report on Children Deprived of Their Liberty

Thematic Report on Children Deprived of Their Liberty



Webinar: Torture of Children Deprived of Liberty: Avenues for Advocacy

On Tuesday, May 5, 2015, we hosted a Webinar entitled Torture of Children Deprived of Liberty: Avenues for Advocacy, during which practitioners and experts from around the world discussed the recent thematic report on children deprived of liberty by Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Mendez, addressing its significance for their work on the ground worldwide. The participants also discussed challenges posed by the detention of children worldwide in a variety of settings, including detention in prisons, institutions outside the criminal justice system, and immigration detention facilities.

The Webinar featured talks by the Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. MendezBenyam Dawit Mezmur, Vice-Chairperson of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child; Jo Becker, Advocacy Director, Children’s Rights Division, Human Rights Watch; and Ian M. Kysel, Dash/Muse Fellow, Adjunct Professor of Law, Georgetown Law Human Rights Institute.
A podcast of the Webinar is available here. To learn more about the report and our work on this topic, please refer to the information below and read our Storify.





Special Rapporteur Mendez at the Human Rights Council

Special Rapporteur Mendez at the Human Rights Council

This page provides information about the report’s key findings, the report’s presentation and a side-event on juveniles deprived of liberty at the Human Rights Council, and our  #StopChildTorture campaign

In this report, the Special Rapporteur seeks to explore the international legal framework and standards protecting children deprived of their liberty from being subjected to torture or other ill-treatment and from experiencing developmentally harmful and torturous conditions of confinement.  He concludes that children deprived of their liberty are at a heightened risk of torture and ill-treatment due to their unique vulnerability and needs.  In this context, he finds that the detention of children is inextricably linked – in fact if not in law – with the ill-treatment of children, due to the particularly vulnerable situation in which they have been placed, exposing them to numerous types and situations of risk. You can read the official United Nations press release on the Special Rapporteur’s report – “Detention is inextricably linked with ill-treatment, children must be protected” – here


Watch the Special Rapporteur discuss his report in this new VIDEO!


View these infographics to learn about some of the report’s key findings…

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According to some more key conclusions of the Special Rapporteur’s report…
  • Detention of children should be used only for the shortest possible period of time, only if it is in the best interest of the child, and limited to exceptional cases.
  • States should adopt alternatives to detention for children whenever possible.
  • Minimum age of criminal responsibility must be no lower than 12 years old and be progressively raised
  • No life sentences without parole for children (and even lengthy sentences can be grossly disproportionate and amount to ill-treatment).
  • No use of restraints for children deprived of their liberty under any circumstance.
  • No solitary confinement for children deprived of their liberty.
  • No death penalty for children deprived of their liberty.
  • No corporal punishment for children deprived of their liberty.
  • No immigration detention (detention of children based on migration status is never in the best interests of child, is grossly disproportionate, and constitutes ill-treatment).
  • Special attention should be paid to children deprived of their liberty in health- and social-care institutions, including in private settings.

Side-Event on Children Deprived of Liberty: A Global Perspective

On March 10, the Special Rapporteur participated in a side-event entitled Children Deprived of Liberty: A Global Perspective, during which he presented his new report. For this event, he was joined by the Special Representatives of the Secretary General on Violence against Children, Ms. Marta Santos Pais, and for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Leila Zerrougui, and by NGO representatives from Defence for Children International, the World Organization Against Torture, and Human Rights Watch. A webcast of the side-event is available here.

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#StopChildTorture! Campaign

As part of the launch of the Special Rapporteur’s report, we have embarked on a #StopChildTorture campaign designed to raise awareness on the torture and ill-treatment in a variety of detention settings worldwide.

For more information please follow us on TWITTER and FACEBOOK, and support us by joining our #StopChildTorture ThunderClap!