The Asia Pacific Council for Juvenile Justice (APCJJ)’s first report: "A voice for the future of Juvenile Justice in Asia-Pacific. An Introduction to the Asia Pacific Council for Juvenile Justice and Leading Juvenile Justice Reforms in the Region"
Context of the APCJJ first report
The Asia Pacific region has experienced rapid social and economic development in recent decades. It is home to great diversity and tremendous opportunities, and many young people and their families have managed to benefit from such social and economic improvements. The youth population in the Asia Pacific region amounts to 700 million people and represents 45% of the world’s youth population. Nevertheless, an important number of children and young people, who come from generations of poverty, poor education, are still in urgent needs and in situation of social exclusion. The protection networks within the family and the state are often weak. Among them are those children who come into conflict with the law or are “at risk”. What is the response of the countries of the region and the region as a whole to this vulnerable segment of the community?
It is the question the APCJJ is answering with its first report "A voice for the future of Juvenile Justice in Asia-Pacific - An INTRODUCTION TO THE ASIA PACIFIC COUNCIL FOR JUVENILE JUSTICE AND LEADING JUVENILE JUSTICE REFORMS IN THE REGION".
Indeed, the situation of children in conflict with the law, child victims and witnesses of crime has become an increasing concern for most of the countries of the Asia-Pacific region. Even if significant reform initiatives are currently underway in response to issues of violence against children, child trafficking and children rights, a lack of specific guarantee of protection of the rights of children in conflict with the law and juvenile justice systems still persists in some countries.
About the first APCJJ report
The APCJJ first report analyses the regional responses to juvenile justice issues, from a human right perspective, and with a special focus on leading practices in juvenile crime prevention as well as a particular attention on the development of restorative justice approaches and finally condition of detention in the region. The APCJJ report proposes a series of recommendations for regional and national policy makers as well as for civil society and academics experts.
For other hand, this report explores, as well, the makeup and function of the APCJJ as well as the key outcomes of the first meeting of the Council in 2012 in Thailand and of the priorities for action identified by members states represented at that meeting. The report also aims to showcase promising aspects of juvenile justice reform initiatives across the Asia Pacific region, thus identifying the potential for further reforms on a regional level.
There is still much room for improvement in the ways in which States of the region adhere to international standards and apply successful evidence-based practices. However, this report aims to showcase the “good news” stories that emerged from the first APCJJ meeting in Bangkok as well as other examples, particularly from Asia-Pacific states with which the Council hopes to engage more fully in future APCJJ endeavours.
About the APCJJ
The Asia Pacific Council for Juvenile Justice has been created by the International Juvenile Justice Observatory in order to assist countries in the region in the implementation of international standards and the development of reforms, and to formulate recommendations on juvenile justice in Asia-Pacific, as well as to gather quantitative and qualitative information on the situation of children, adolescents and young people in conflict with the law.
In 2012, the International Juvenile Justice Observatory together with the Department of Juvenile Observation and Protection of the Ministry of Justice of Thailand organised the first meeting of the Asia Pacific Council of Juvenile Justice - APCJJ. The objective of the APCJJ meeting was to develop solid strategies to ensure the respect for the rights of children and adolescents in conflict with the law and to promote crime prevention policies toward Asia-Pacific institutions, such as the ASEAN, based on existing initiatives and programmes.
Representatives of national administration, universities and civil society organizations was representing the following countries at the APCJJ inaugural meeting: Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.
One year after the meeting, the IJJO issues the regional report ‘A voice for the Future of Juvenile Justice in Asia-Pacific ; Introduction to the Asia-Pacific Council for Juvenile Justice and Leading Juvenile Justice Reforms in the Region’. With this report, the IJJO wants to explore the key outcomes of the first meeting of the Council in 2012 in Bangkok and of the priorities for action identified by members states represented at that meeting. This publication also aims to showcase promising aspects of juvenile justice reform initiatives across the Asia Pacific region, thus identifying the potential for further reforms on a regional level.
About the Author
Ms. Alice McGrath. Lawyer for children and international advisor. Capacity Building, Law Reform, Policy and Advocacy, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation. Australia
Ms. McGrath is a lawyer and international adviser from Australia. Alice began her professional life as a lawyer for children and adults and specialised working with indigenous young people in remote settings with the Northern Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service. Ms McGrath over the last 10 years has worked as an international advisor in human rights and juvenile justice reform in Central Asia, The Pacific, the Middle East and North Africa. Alice most recently has been involved with the Australian Government in developing civil/military post conflict reintegration planning models, with a focus on raising the profile of children’s rights in longer term justice reform programming.
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