Progressive abolition of violence against children in detention in Central Asia

Progressive abolition of violence against children in detention in Central Asia

It was very exciting to see so many people here, who have come from countries that are working hard to implement the Convention on Rights of the Child and to protect children.

PRI Honorary president and founder, Member of the House of Lords of the British Parliament, Baroness Vivien Stern

CONTEXT

In order to address the issue of violence against children in closed institutions Penal reform International (PRI) undertook a three-year project funded by the European Union. The project's geographical scope covers three countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The project involved key beneficiaries as children deprived of liberty, all relevant ministries and state agencies, civil society and mass media.

OBJECTIVES

  • the elimination of solitary confinement in all child detention facilities.
  • the separation of children from adults and girls from boys at all times and in all places of detention.

RESULTS

  • PRI and partner organisations were involved in all the relevant penal reform working groups on policy and legislative changes in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
  • PRI and the partner’s advocacy influenced progressive steps towards the prohibition of solitary confinement and the separation of children from adults.
  • The training and monitoring had improved the capacity of the staff in the closed institutions in all three countries.
  • Systematic monitoring and interviewing of children in detention facilities and producing a “voice of the child” report to document instances of violence in all three countries.
  • Development and discussion of the concept note to reform the special educational organisations for children in conflict with the law with the Vice Prime-Minister of Kazakhstan.
  • Provision of technical assistance and support to the Ombudsman’s Office in Kyrgyzstan to establish a national helpline for children in closed institutions.
  • Provision of pilot counselling schemes for children who have been subjected to violence and their families established in each country.

FACTS AND FIGURES

  • 11 training sessions conducted for closed institutions staff in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan with more than 300 participants.
  • 656 children and 223 closed institutions staff in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan participated in the survey.
  • More than 30 international experts from the European Union and Scandinavian countries participated in the project.
  • Expert support has been provided at the legislative level - PRI and its partner organisations participated in more than 70 meetings.
  • Helpline number 115 in the Kyrgyz Republic processed more than 6000 complaints for children.
  • 4 high level round tables to discuss the issue of violence against children in detention took place in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan involving more than 600 participants.

TESTIMONY

Central Asia Dialogue on prevention of violence against children and the rights of children in difficult circumstances

From 2-4 September, PRI in Central Asia held the Central Asian Dialogue on prevention of violence against children and the rights of children in difficult circumstances.

The three-day conference on the issue was organised by Penal Reform International in collaboration with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Parliament of Kazakhstan, the Ombudsman’s Office and Know Violence in Childhood.

Representatives from five Central Asian countries and international experts from Norway, Czech Republic, India, the United Kingdom and Austria participated in the event, including human rights activists, government officials, representatives from all closed facilities – detention centres, special boarding schools and children’s homes. The Conference also involved Baroness Vivien Stern, a Member of the British House of Lords, and Renate Winter, the Vice-President of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

The purpose of the Dialogue was to provide an opportunity for the exchange of views and visions of the five Central Asian countries, as well as to develop recommendations and a preliminary action plan to protect the rights of children in difficult circumstances.