UNICEF insists on children’s having the right to objective justice

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(photo: RiauOnline)

IO, Jakarta – The United Nations Agency for Children (UNICEF) calls on all parties to protect children from violence when conducting protest demonstrations. This was brought to the attention of UNICEF, responding to a number of cases where children experienced violence and were detained for more than 24 hours. “We must remain firm in upholding and protecting the rights of children at all times,” said UNICEF’s representative in Indonesia, Debora Comini, through written statements. “Children and youth in Indonesia have the right to express themselves and engage in dialogue about issues affecting them. “And we must ensure that they have prompt and proper support if they are to be involved with the law,” Debora continued. 

Debora called on all parties, especially the police, who face children during demonstrations to respect and defend their rights, as the UN Convention recognizes the right of children to freedom of association and peaceful assembly. 

In line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Law on Child Protection in Indonesia also guarantees the right of every child to speak and be heard, including in political matters, and protecting them from abuse in political activities and social unrest. “These protests remind us that there is a need “to create meaningful opportunities – both online and offline – for children and young people to voice their views freely and peacefully in Indonesia,” she said. 

UNICEF calls for attention to children in the Indonesian criminal justice system when children who engage in demonstrations or protest come in contact with the law. The Law on the Juvenile Justice System in Indonesia stipulates that deprivation of liberty and imprisonment is a last resort. 

Debora believes that the arrest and detention of children under 18 years can only be carried out for a maximum period of 24 hours. She further explained, when subjected to detention, these children should be separated from adult prisoners and should be given immediate legal assistance. “Children also have the right to be protected from torture, punishment or cruel treatment, and degrading treatment,” he said. 

Debora added, children should have the right to avoid arrest and imprisonment. “Children also have the right to get justice from an objective and impartial juvenile court, and have the support of family members,” she said. (dsy)