Revision of standard n° 14 – Justice for Children

All boys and girls who come into contact with the justice system as victims, witnesses or alleged offenders must be treated in accordance with international standards.
Standard 14, excerpt.

Project duration : 2014 to present

The Minimum Standards for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action (CPMS) were adopted in September 2012 by the international community following a consultation held with 400 people representing 30 organisations from over 40 countries around the world. These standards, which aim to guarantee the rights of children in emergency situations, include Standard 14, pertaining to justice for children. It states that all boys and girls who come into contact with the justice system as victims, witnesses or alleged offenders must receive treatment that conforms to international standards.

Yet it appears that in emergency situations, the standards in place for justice for children are not fully respected. To remedy this problem, the Child Protection Working Group (CPWG) is dedicated to strengthening the knowledge base relating to Standard 14 and taking stock of its global application. It was in this context that in 2014, the IBCR was asked to conduct an in-depth study, in partnership with Terre des hommes, of the difficulties encountered by children struggling with the justice system in humanitarian crises.

Goals of the project :

First, the Standard 14 revision project sought to prepare an assessment of how this international standard is enforced in crisis situations affecting children around the world. To this end, the IBCR was asked to carry out a study on the understanding and application of Standard 14. A questionnaire was distributed to the staff of various humanitarian organisations, and some 20 interviews were held with 27 representatives from 13 organisations. Furthermore, the IBCR conducted a review of the literature on the subject: 198 documents were identified and analysed for the purposes of this exercise. Outside the World Congress on Juvenile Justice, held in Geneva 26 to 30 January, 2015, three representatives from the Bureau were invited to present different facets of the IBCR’s work in justice for children, including one consultative session on Standard 14 and its application. Information gathering led to the drafting of a report (lien vers le rapport et résumé) evaluating the good practices adopted around the world, but also the numerous challenges that must be faced to facilitate the process for children in contact with the justice system, whether as victims, witnesses or alleged offenders. Recommendations were also issued on how the minimum standards for child protection could be reinforced.

In the second phase of the project, which unfolded in the first half of 2015, the IBCR carried out four case studies – one related to the post-crisis situation in Mali, one related to reconstruction following a natural disaster in Haiti, one related to a context of active armed conflict in Afghanistan, and one related to a hybrid situation of natural disaster and armed conflict in the Philippines. These case studies were aimed at illustrating and completing the analyses found in the report. Two five-day missions were organised in Mali and in Haiti, while the studies pertaining to the Philippines and Afghanistan were conducted by professionals on missions in the field.

The IBCR also organised an online conference with the aim of providing professionals working in the field of justice for children with key information about Standard 14, and participated in the making of a short video about justice for children.

Finally, the IBCR took part in the annual meeting organised in Bangkok by the Child Protection Working Group, where it presented the results of all its work. Thanks to discussions held outside this meeting, the IBCR was named leader of a new international working group on justice for children in emergency situations, partnering with UNICEF and Terre des hommes among others. Armed with this work plan, the IBCR took part in a workshop held in Lebanon to adapt Standard 14 to the Lebanese context. The objective of the IBCR’s participation in this workshop was to plan a collaboration in this country to implement a pilot initiative there to document the experience of humanitarian stakeholders applying Standard 14 over time. Talks on the subject are ongoing.

  • Intervention locations : Mondial
  • Project duration: 2014 à ce jour
  • Partners :
    • Child Protection Working Group (CPWG)
    • Terre des Hommes
    • UNICEF
  • Highlights:
    • 22 interviews held with 27 people and 13 organisations
    • 198 documents analysed as part of the literature review
    • Drafting of a report
    • 4 in-depth studies conducted in Mali, Haiti, Afghanistan and the Philippines
    • Participation in three international thematic workshops in Geneva, Bangkok and Beirut
  • Fields of activity and expertise :
    • Applied research
    • Children in emergency situations
    • Children and the justice system

See all projects

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Subscribe now!