Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty

Childhood is when children develop their personality, their emotional relationships with others, their social and educational skills and their talents. Depriving them of liberty means depriving them of their childhood. Placing children in institutions and other facilities where they are, or may be, deprived of liberty is difficult to reconcile with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Article 37b CRC clearly states that deprivation of liberty of children shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time.

The making of the Global Study

To address this situation, in December 2014 the United Nations General Assembly invited the United Nations Secretary-General to commission an in-depth Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty (A/RES/69/157 §52.d).

In October 2016, Manfred Nowak was appointed as Independent Expert to lead the Global Study. He submitted his final report on the Study to the General Assembly and presented it during its seventy-fourth session (Resolution 72/245 §37). The Global Study was carried out in close cooperation with Governments, UN agencies and actors, including OHCHR, UNICEF, UNODC, UNHCR, IOM, WHO, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on violence against children, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for children and armed conflict, the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), as well as civil society organizations (over 170) and academia. The process included thematic, national and regional consultations all around the world where also children views and perspectives were consulted.

The importance of bringing the Global Study to all stakeholders

Following the presentation of the UNGA report relating to the Global Study to the UNGA Third Committee in New York on 8 October 2019, and the presentation of the comprehensive version of the Global Study to the UN in Geneva on 19 November 2019, it is pivotal for the findings of the Study to be presented in the different regions of the world and discuss the best way forward in implementing the findings and corresponding recommendations. The previous two Global Studies established mechanisms under the United Nations Secretary General, that of the two special representatives of the Secretary General on Violence against Children and Children and Armed conflicts. Nevertheless, in the previous studies it took at least a year to decide on a follow-up mechanism(s) and process.

During the interim decision making phase, the Global Campus has taken the initiative to keep the Global Study on the international agenda and support its dissemination activities. The cooperation between the GC and the Right Livelihood Foundation has taken a pivotal role in supporting the process of the Study to be presented in the different regions of the world.

Objectives of follow-up initiation and dissemination strategy

To present the Global Study findings and recommendations and develop the most effective short, mid and long-term follow-up strategies with international, regional and national key-stakeholders by means of trainings, workshops and consultations. In this regard, a number of regional and national launches have taken place throughout the world to raise awareness and create action plans to implement the recommendations as well as use this momentum to support the initiation of a follow-up process to the Study. Furthermore, The Global Classroom 2020 focuses on children deprived of liberty.

To coordinate and support the development and facilitation of further Global Study related research and advocacy activities and outputs such as the creation of thematic toolkits, an executive summary and its translation in all UN languages, an animated child friendly version, multiple e-learning massive open online courses (MOOCs) and further projects related to the implementation of the recommendations through the Global Campus network and its universities.

To maintain and strengthen the Global Study network consisting of research institutes and universities, Advisory Board members and other experts, the NGO Panel of 170 NGOs, UN agencies and other international as well as regional organizations, National Human Rights Institutions, National Preventive Mechanisms and Children’s ombudspersons. This is to be done by a variety of communication channels, by creating a website as well as by a regular newsletter and other advocacy and communication tools.