2022 saw decreases in the Covid-19 pandemic around the world, but its damaging consequences on detained children remained a punishing reality.
detained children in Nepal received psychological, legal, and medical assistance
detained children in the Philippines received regular visits and psychosocial support
In Benin, measures in place since March 2020 still prevent children from seeing their families. This is extremely worrying. In December, the OMCT and local partner Enfants Solidaires d’Afrique et du Monde organised a public discussion to urgently call for the reopening of prisons.
In the Philippines, children still bear the trauma of separation from families during the restrictions. 181 detained children benefited from our partner Children’s Legal Rights and Development Center visits to detention, including psychosocial activities and counselling.
In Uruguay, we joined with our partner Servicio Paz y Justicia through a joint report to the UN Committee against Torture to denounce an increase in torture and ill-treatment of children in detention, and call for changes to restrictive laws increasing detention and the length of sentences for children.
In the Philippines, thousands of children have been victims of arbitrary arrests in the context of the War on Drugs during recent years, subjecting them to alarming detention conditions, overcrowded prisons, and regular, often brutal cases of ill-treatment. In December 2022, legal assistance provided by our partner CLRDC led to the transfer of 17-year-old JR from detention to an NGO-run shelter. He could finally visit with his 5-year-old brother, who is in the care of a neighbour, as their mother has passed away and father is unfortunately in prison. Our partner CLRDC also provided medical support to JR, who had suffered from a severe lung infection contracted while in prison.
In Togo, continuous, sustained advocacy helped reopen prisons to civil society and families, enabling our partner Collectif des Associations contre l’Impunité au Togo to resume monitoring visits and document cases of torture. Trainings for judges, prison staff, police officers and lawyers were held in provincial areas and raised awareness about ongoing cases of torture and ill-treatment of children. Perhaps most importantly, a number of children held in adult prisons were released.
In Honduras, together with our member Centro de Prevención, Tratamiento y Rehabilitación de las Víctimas de la Tortura y sus Familiares, a high-level mission with Committee on the Rights of the Child expert Luis Pedernera ended with a denunciation of a highly punitive system of incarceration of children and alarming detention conditions. Members of the Board on Children, a committee gathering civil society and relevant actors of the justice system were also trained on international juvenile justice and child detention standards, notably on the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment.
More than 90 children detained in child correctional homes in Nepal benefited from psychological, legal and medical assistance by Advocacy Forum Nepal, supported by the OMCT. 85 children were able to access to a doctor.
In May, the OMCT brought together actors in the fight against torture and children's rights around the first joint reception between the UN Committee against Torture and the Committee on the Rights of the Child – aiming to highlight the many alarming situations of torture suffered by children around the world, and to join forces across the regions in addressing the issue.
The OMCT and its partner Gabinete Assessoria Jurídica Organizações Populares observed and denounced inhuman conditions of detention for children in Brazil. In two centres in Pernambuco State, children are regularly handcuffed in stress positions, and often beaten with heavy wooden sticks. They are also frequently locked in their cells for more than 23 hours a day.
How can children develop in extremely precarious conditions?
Around 700 children are detained in unsanitary and overcrowded correction homes in Nepal. They are denied healthcare and decent food. Some of them haven't seen their families for 2 years because of Covid-19.