Tripoli (Libya)- In partnership with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), Ministry of Interior (MoI), Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA), the European Union (EU), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) launched today the “Development of Juvenile System” joint project.

Children encounter the justice system as victims, witnesses, because they are in contact with the law or as parties to the justice process, such as in custodial arrangements. In the past, the juvenile justice system in Libya was deemed progressive as it diverted children away from prison and placed them in care institutions outside the prison system. After nearly a decade of conflict and instability, this system has been greatly affected.

The Joint project “Development of Juvenile System” aims at providing child-friendly access for all children in Libya in contact with the law, including those deprived of their liberty, in accordance with the UN Child Rights Convention (CRC), the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (the Beijing Rules), and the relevant international legal instruments.

During the ceremony, Mr. Mahmoud Alsharif, head of Children Council noted in his/her opening statement that "Imagine a child left his basic education 11 years ago and has a poor upbringing. This will expose themselves and others to risk. Therefore, there must be institutions and support programmes to protect this segment. It is the time, the time to start today and now. All partners are excited about this program. Our main goal is to save those children and serve their best interest."

Sandra Goffin, European Union Delegation to Libya Head of Operations, affirmed that “ The Rule of Law is one of the principles guiding the EU’s external action. All public authorities should always act within the constraints set out by law, in accordance with the values of democracy and fundamental rights, and under the control of independent and impartial courts. Through the joint project signed today, the EU is honored to have the possibility to support the efforts of Libyan authorities, in partnership with UN, to improve respect for the Rule of Law and application of international standards of juvenile justice.”

From UNDP, the Deputy Resident Representative Mr. Christopher Laker stated: “The primary goals of developing the juvenile justice system in Libya is to maintain public safety, to support children in Libya with skills development, habilitation, rehabilitation, addressing treatment needs, and successful reintegration into the community. UNDP is proud to partner with Libyan authorities and the EU to help advance children’s safety and development in Libya.”

“The launch of the Development of Juvenile Justice programme in Libya is a culmination of extensive efforts by the Government of Libya and different stakeholders including UN sister agencies to build a strong juvenile justice system in the country which is in line with the international standards,” said Ms. Cristina Brugiolo, Acting UNICEF Special Representative in Libya. “UNICEF believes in access to justice for every child, and I would like to thank the European Union in Libya for sharing this belief.”

“Children in Libya deserve a child-friendly justice system that is tailored to their needs through the provision of basic needs, training of relevant personnel, enhancing the children’s living space and family visits area, providing reintegration and rehabilitation programmes, giving them another chance and more. This will be done through our joint project in collaboration with the State of Libya, relevant Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and partners,” Mr. Polleak Ok Serei, Head of the UNODC Office in Libya added in relation to the project’s importance.

The “Development of Juvenile System” project is funded by the EU to support children in contact with the law in greater Tripoli and other selected locations, including those in detention, to have a child-friendly justice system. Some of the project’s targets will focus on supporting the development of relevant policies and coordination at the national level, improving access of families and children to tailored services accelerating the rehabilitation and reintegration of children, and enhancing pre-release planning and assistance programmes.

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