Rewriting the future

Protecting children and adolescents in the justice system

Placing people’s needs at the top of the policy agenda

The engagement and participation of government and public institutions is paramount to the accomplishment of long-term sustainable change. For this reason, JCLA has built strong partnerships with several stakeholders to achieve the establishment of a legal system that is effective, inclusive and accountable towards vulnerable groups.

JCLA invests significant efforts into the development and enhancement of child justice. As part of these efforts, JCLA is a strong advocate for the enactment of the Child Rights Law. An appointed member of the Child Rights Law Drafting Committee, JCLA presents legislative proposals and recommendations to produce a law that holds the best interest of the child at its foremost priority. In a country with approximately 76,000 working children, JCLA leverages its position in the Child Labor Law Committee to advocate for legislation that reduces labor for children below the age of 16 and regulates it for those above.

At the global level, JCLA periodically presents shadow reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, contributing to push for change through the international community.

In addition to its legislative work, JCLA also focuses on harmful practices for children such as early marriage. The complexity of early marriage calls for a holistic approach, which JCLA has adopted to advocate for legislation that is less lenient towards granting marriage licenses for children below 18.

Enhancing the juvenile criminal system is also at the top of JCLA’s agenda. JCLA holds training for the Juvenile Police on child protection and rights and enjoys an active partnership with the Ministry of Social Development. Through its cooperation with MoSD, JCLA builds the capacity of its case and social workers whose reports and recommendations are essential for lawyers to argue cases in court. Further, JCLA is the first national NGO to have staff permanently located at a juvenile detention center. This has allowed JCLA to develop a concrete strategy to enhance the center’s policies and practices, that will be duplicated and cascaded to other detention facilities.

Adopting a bottom-up holistic approach, JCLA relies on its in-depth understanding of the legal context to concretely affect long-term decisions aimed at protecting children according to their best interest.