Sentenced childhood? Justice for every child

28.09.2016 11:39

 

Over 5000 children are being investigated for committing various crimes – but without the provision of guarantees for fair treatment and preservation of their rights

 

28 September 2016, Sofia – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Bulgaria and NOVA Broadcasting Group are launching a mutual campaign, aimed at raising awareness and sensitizing society about the rights of children in conflict with the law; guaranteeing their access to fair trial and improving their chances for resocialization and reintegration. The campaign supports the reform in the system of juvenile justice – and for that purpose UNICEF in Bulgaria managed to unite the efforts of the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Education and Science, and the Office of the General Prosecutor of the Republic of Bulgaria. For subtitles in English press CC

The campaign “Sentenced childhood? Justice for every child” is being launched at the exact moment when the Ministry of Justice published for public discussions the package of legislative changes in the field of juvenile justice – a new Act on diversion from penal procedures and implementing educational measures for underaged children, as well as the related (to that law) changes in the Penal and Penal-Procedural Code.

The public discussions will continue until October 12, 2016. The documents are available here.

In that period NOVA, along with UNICEF in Bulgaria, will air a series of video reportages, which will reveal in ethical and child-friendly manner the life stories of children in conflict with the law. The stories, which will be presented by the TV host of NOVA – Nadezhda Uzunova, will be broadcasted every Saturday in the talk show “Wake up!” – and will illustrate namely the need for change in legislation and in public perceptions so that children’s rights are preserved and they are not arbitrarily deprived of freedom and turned into victims of stigmatization and discrimination.  

According to data by the National Statistical Institute, annually over 5000 children are being investigated for committing various crimes – but without the provision of guarantees for fair treatment and preservation of their rights. Up to date, around 300 children are placed in different types of closed-door institutions, where they are practically deprived of freedom – and a big share of them are even without proper court sentences.

Bulgaria remains the only member of the European Union which has not synchronized its legal frame on Juvenile Justice with the requirements of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the international and European standards – in a way that would guarantee access to fair trial and the realization of the full range of rights to which all children, including those in conflict with the law, are entitled to.

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN AN ACT ON COMBATING THE ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOR OF MINORS AND UNDER-AGED AND AN ACT ON DIVERSION OF PENAL PROCEEDINGS AND IMPLEMENTATION OF EDUCATIONAL MEASURES FOR UNDER-AGED. 

About UNICEF:  
UNICEF encourages the implementation of rights and improvement of each child’s well-being through each of its activities. Together with our partners we operate in 190 countries and territories in order to transform this commitment into practical actions in favor of all children all over the world, making special efforts to reach the most vulnerable and socially excluded children.

About Nova Broadcasting Group:  
The long-term improvement of the lives of children in Bulgaria and the creation of perspectives for their better future – are in the focus of NOVA Broadcasting Group’s Corporate Social Responsibility. The social initiative “The Change” which NOVA Broadcasting Group implements in partnership with Reach for Change Foundation, stimulates the development of social entrepreneurship that is directed at creating conditions for the better life and more secure future of children in Bulgaria. The campaign by the News Department of NOVA – “Mission: Education” – unveils the challenges in education and looks for sustainable change in the Bulgarian educational system.

For more information:  
Jacklin Tsotcheva, Communications Officer, UNICEF Bulgaria  
Tel. 02/9696208, e-mail: jtzocheva@unicef.org

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UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone. And we never give up.