EMBARGOED PRESS RELEASE: Not for publication before 00:01am on Monday 15 February
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[15.02.2016, London] New research from Child Rights International Network (CRIN) has analysed and ranked how effectively children can use the law to challenge violations of their rights, in the first-ever global study on children’s access to justice.
Topping the list are Belgium, Portugal and Spain, with Kenya the only country outside Europe to make the top ten. Relegated to the bottom of the pile are Palestine, Eritrea and Equatorial Guinea.
CRIN’s director Veronica Yates said: “When we think of children and justice, the first image that comes to mind is usually one of children breaking the law. Rarely do we consider children and their right to use the legal system to protect their human rights or to seek redress when their rights have been violated.
“Access to justice is about challenging the perception of children as just victims or somehow less worthy of justice than adults. It is about recognising that children, like adults, have human rights and that when these rights are infringed they should be able to trust and use the legal system to get justice.”
The research takes into account whether children can bring lawsuits when their rights are violated, the legal resources available to them, the practical considerations for taking legal action, and whether judges apply international law on children’s rights in their rulings.
The report also offers a model of what access to justice should look like for children. ‘Eutopia’ was created by collecting examples from around the world. While many come from countries at the higher end of the ranking, others were found in countries such as Angola, Montenegro, Jamaica, Nepal, the Philippines or Eritrea.
CRIN wants this report to help provide new ideas and tools for those working to prevent violations of children’s rights and to demonstrate new avenues of legal redress, whether in the struggle for citizenship rights in Kenya, securing access to education without fees for millions of children in Colombia, or defending children’s right to a healthy environment in the United States.
Chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Benyam Dawit Mezmur, said: “Country rankings are not just there to highlight who is doing well and who is doing poorly but more importantly they have the ability to stir States to action, prompting them to improve and claim a spot higher on the ranking ladder.
“The Committee welcomes this research and already envisages its concrete contribution to its various engagements with States.”
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Notes to the editor
You can find the report Rights, Remedies and Representation: A global report on access to justice for children here, the global ranking here, all of the individual country reports here and a link to our interactive map of access to justice here.
Child Rights International Network (CRIN) is a global research, policy and advocacy organisation. Our work is grounded in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Our goal is a world where children's rights are recognised, respected and enforced, and where every rights violation has a remedy. www.crin.org
Our work is based on five core values:
- We believe in rights, not charity
- We are stronger when we work together
- Information is power and it should be free and accessible
- Societies, organisations and institutions should be open, transparent and accountable
- We believe in promoting children's rights, not ourselves.