Violence against children remains a major concern

Geneva-Montevideo,October 2013. The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), its local partnerin Uruguay, the Institute for Legal and Social Studies (IELSUR), together with the Committee on theRights of the Child of Uruguay, and theinternational expert Eric Sottas, have conducted a Monitoring and Advocacy Missionin Uruguay from 30 September to 05 October 2013.

Through monitoring visits andinterviews with employees of juvenile detention centres, OMCT has received severalallegations of violence against children in conflict with the law. Among theallegations, children have claimed to be repeatedly beaten and humiliated,forced to run naked in the patio, excessively medicated and kept in their cellsfor more than 20 hours a day.

OMCT notices that despiteimprovements, noticed in comparison with previous missions in the country, suchas the access to education to some of the children deprived of liberty, as wellas improvements in the physical structure of some centres and initiatives tobuild new centres; allegations of ill-treatment of children continue to emergewith complete impunity.

In order to go further in thediscussion of preventive measures against torture, OMCT and its local partners,with the organizational support of the Government of Uruguay, conducted atraining to directors and employees of Juvenile Detention Centres.

The training counted with local andinternational experts from different organizations and had the presence of over60 employees and directors of the different Juvenile Centres of the country.

The discussion raised issues such asobligations that government representatives hold in relation to internationalhuman rights standards, as well as limitations on the use of force.

As a conclusion of the mission, OMCTand its local partners promoted a Seminary to discuss the initiative to reducethe age of criminal responsibility, that counted with the presence of studentsand experts in the subject.

OMCT notices that in the past fewyears Uruguay has harden its law on children, approving initiatives that goagainst international standards, and generating an abusive use of measures ofdeprivation of liberty, which has resulted in overcrowded centres and theincrease of violations.

We recall that the deprivation of liberty of children should always be ameasure of last resort, for the minimum necessary period, and always takinginto account the best interest of the child. In addition, all allegations oftorture must be object of a meaningful, diligent, impartial and transparentinvestigation in order to ensure full accountability.

OMCT and its local partners expectto continue a dialogue with the government of Uruguay in order to promoteconcrete actions that may ensure prevention and accountability for practices oftorture, inhuman and degrading treatment against children in conflict with thelaw.

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