United Nations Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty

About the Project

The United Nations General Assembly by Resolution 69/157 of 18 December 2014 requested the former Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, to commission an in-depth global study on children deprived of liberty. In October 2016, Manfred Nowak (Austria) has been appointed as Independent Expert leading the United Nations Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty. The Global Study will build upon the experiences from two previous UN Studies on children: The report of Graça Machel (Mozambique) on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children as well as the United Nations Study on Violence against Children, led by Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro (Brazil), which provide us with a good blueprint for undertaking the Global Study. The Global Study will be carried out in close cooperation with Governments, civil society organisations and various UN agencies. As leading research institutes the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental and Human Rights (LBI-GMR) and the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratization (EIUC) will coordinate the research efforts. Besides engaging in desk research and collecting data on the magnitude of the phenomenon, the UN Global Study will take into account views from around the world through national and regional consultations in order to realize the endeavor of drastically changing the lives of all children deprived of liberty.

What are the core objectives of the UN Global Study?

  1. To bridge the data gap on the unknown number of children deprived of liberty worldwide
  2. To raise awareness about the risks of deprivation if liberty for children and society as a whole and promote a change in stigmatizing attitudes and behaviour towards children concerned
  3. To collect best practices and develop recommendations for law, policy and practice to safeguard the rights of children concerned, and prevent as well as significantly reduce the number of children deprived of liberty through effective non-custodial alternatives

What are the key focus areas?

I.       Children deprived of liberty within the administration of justice
II.     Children deprived of liberty for migration-related reasons
III.    Children living in places of detention with their parents
IV.    Children deprived of liberty in institutions
V.     Children deprived of liberty in the context of armed conflict
VI.    Children deprived of liberty on national security grounds

What is deprivation of liberty and what does it mean for children?

Every person, including every child, has the human right to personal liberty. Deprivation of liberty is defined as any form of detention or imprisonment from which that person is not permitted to leave at will. Nearly every country in the world is party to the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that if a child should be detained, it may only be as a measure of last resort and for the shortest period of time. Childhood is a formative time in everyone’s life. Freedom and liberty are essential elements of a happy childhood. Depriving children of their liberty will leave a mark – in their lives and in society.

Why do we need a Global Study?

A UN Global Study on children only comes along once in a decade. It is a unique opportunity to gain a global understanding of the scale and gravity of deprivation of liberty of children and identify alternative practices to advance children’s rights. We cannot afford to let this international momentum for children’s rights slip through our fingers. All UN Global Studies on children have changed the world. Be part of this groundbreaking UN Global Study and help us leave an impact on lives of children deprived of liberty and society at large.

Global Study download and interactive version: https://omnibook.com/global-study-2019

Project Data

Persons involved: Moritz Birk (Lead Researcher / fromer Head, Human Dignity and Public Security Team), Manu Krishan (Study Coordinator), Manfred Nowak (Independent Expert leading the UN Global Study on Children deprived of Liberty / Founder and former Co-Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental and Human Rights), Helmut Sax (Lead Researcher / Senior Researcher, Child Rights Expert), Georges Younes (Study Manager)
Contact persons: Helmut Sax
Lead Organisation: Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Fundamental and Human Rights (LBI-GMR), EIUC, OHCHR, UNODC, UNICEF, UNHCR, SRSG VAC, SRSG CAC, CRC, DCI, HRW
Project start: 01/2017
Project end: 12/2019
Project completed: Yes
Funded by: voluntary contributions of United Nations member states, foundations and individuals
Programme Line LBI-GMR: Human Dignity and Public Security