The UNWG is comprised of state and non- state actors namely; Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs (Department of the Law Council), JLOS Secretariat, PAS, Legal Aid Service Providers Network (LASPNET), the Judiciary, Uganda Law Society, the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (Gender section) and the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (Children and Youth Department). Each institution is represented by two officers on the NWG. The publication of the manual contributes to one of the project outcomes to improve the quality of legal services provided to children and youth. It gives guidance to duty bearers on how to provide a complete child friendly package of care for children within the civil and criminal justice system. It will be used to sensitise key personnel to the issues pertaining to child justice. It is not re-inventing the wheel, but rather attempts to adopt already existing information on child justice to more sensitive, friendly and rights based approaches. It is hoped that the gains from the manual will contribute to creating greater understanding of the justice needs of children and thereby result in improved treatment of children in contact with the law.
The manual was a result of the UNWG findings (also backed by the recent report on Uganda’s Periodic Review submitted in 2011) that actors working in the area of children’s justice are not adequately cognizant of the special needs and attributes of children and how to provide the best protection especially for those children in need of special care.
On October 1 2014, a meeting was convened where the consultant presented the draft training manual. Comments raised by the members included: the need to include the aspect of responsibility and aspects of child participation; to look at the OVC and Alternative Care framework; the need to clearly explain issues regarding children in conflict with the law and those in contact with the law; the need to consider the issue of children in prisons with mothers; look at the sentencing guidelines to see special considerations judicial officers are mandated to make concerning children; provide input on the issue of child witnesses and also address after care issues.
Published: October 10, 2014