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AKIPRESS.COM - The European Union (EU) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have signed a joint agreement for the programme ‘The Improvement of the Justice for Children and Child Rights Protection System’. The overall objective of the programme is to support the Government of Kazakhstan in further aligning the national legislation and the child protection system with international standards and good practices.
The new action specifically aims to strengthen the national Justice for Children system with focus on the rights of children in conflict with the law and child victims and witnesses of crime. The EU will allocate 2 million euros and UNICEF will earmark 400,000 euros to the programme, which will be implemented since June 2014 till June 2017.
The Guidance Note of the Secretary General ‘UN Approach to Justice for Children’ states that the way children are treated by national legal, social welfare, justice systems and security institutions is integral to the achievement of rule of law and its related aims. The international community recognizes that the system of criminal justice for juveniles should be separate from the adult system. In Kazakhstan, the juvenile crime rate has significantly decreased since the country became independent in 1991. At the same time, the number of crimes committed against children is growing every year bringing in more children into the justice system. Many of the crimes against children remain unidentified and unregistered.
Bridging the gap between standards and practices the forthcoming project will provide top-level technical expertise to the Government of Kazakhstan in order to improve the institutional architecture of the Justice for Children, including the establishment of necessary coordination mechanisms and services.
Specific activities with the purpose of demonstrating innovative and child sensitive approaches to Kazakhstan such as community based diversion, probation and social work will be implemented in East Kazakhstan, Mangystau and Kyzylorda Regions.
The action also provides for the development of community-based professional counselling services aiming to strengthen the protective environment around vulnerable children and youth at risk of having harmful behaviour, to themselves or to others. The existing youth centres will be involved for ensuring the referral to existing social services as well as directly providing missing services targeting adolescents and youth.
The joint EU-UNICEF programme will also focus on the capacity development of justice professionals and governmental institutions. A number of inter-sectorial trainings, workshops and experience exchange study visits will be part of the action to improve quality of working methods and performance of justice professionals for enabling better work with children in conflict with the law and children who are victims and witnesses of crime.