In his keynote address, the Principal Judge Justice Yorokamu Bamwine called upon all stakeholders to deliver a holistic approach to the delivery of services to children in terms of having victim support units and logistical support, a strengthened probabtion function and a sufficiently funded model for rehabilitation of children in conflict or contact with the law. Justice Bamwine said that he looked forward to a structure that will turn children and youth into better citizens of tomorrow. He also commended UNICEF for supporting the Justice for Children initiatives and Centre for Justice Studies and Innovations (CJSI) for the technical expertise in implementing the J4C program.
According to Mr. Sam Wairagala, the Advisor Monitoring and Evaluation at the JLOS Secretariat, the Justice, Law and Order Sector from a policy and strategy perspective, has developed programs to address issues of children. “For the first time in the 13 year history of the sector, we have multiple indicators related to children and there are mechanisms for tackling these indicators”. These indicators include average stay of children on remand, how many children in this country are registered, average time for disposal of cases related to children among others.
Mr. Wairagala also said that JLOS continues to focus more attention on vulnerable people – the most vulnerable being children – how they access our services cheaply, equitably and timely. “We are looking at issues of children from a systems perspective – with all JLOS stakeholders involved”.
- The Family Justice study commissioned by the sector highlights issues of children such as property rights, compulsory registration of births and deaths and development of specific law to address child trafficking. Some of the recommendations have been undertaken for implementation.
- The sector now has special programs for children such as Diversion, J4C, Remand homes, Legal Aid cinics, Revision of Police Form 3 to cater for medical examinations following sexual violence
- Capacity building programs and strengthening sub national structures such as DCCs has been instrumental in addressing issues of children
During the review, stakeholders raised a number of challenges that face justice for children initiatives. These include the issue of increasing priorities and declining resources. According to the UNICEF Deputy Country Director, the sector should in this competitive environment ensure that issues affecting children are well identified prioritized in work plan and budgets. She expressed the commitment of UNICEF to continuously fund well-articulated priorities and initiatives forwarded by the sector for support.
Lack of information systems to support proper decision-making on issues affecting children was also pointed out as a critical challenge. The meeting resolved to strengthen collection of data regarding children and transforming this data into information to scientifically support decision-making and planning.
About J4C Program
The Justice for Children (J4C) Programme is a nationwide systematic innovation aimed at the institutionalization of an effective JLOS response to children at risk, victims of violence and those in conflict with the law.
The Programme is intended to yield three critical results:
- Strengthened children’s rights, accountability and good governance by key government institutions, civil society entities and mechanisms including traditional structures in order to contribute to improved security, protection, access to justice and reconciliation for children
- A conducive legal and policy environment of entrenched accountability for Gender-based Violence (GBV) prevention and response (for women and children) as well as increased access to and availability of high quality, child-friendly GBV services for GBV survivors
- Established national and “sub-national” (regional and local-level) justice for children platforms and systems owned and driven by JLOS leading to sustainable results for children