The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

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The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

© UNICEF/NYHQ2005-1931/Roger LeMoyne Haiti, 2005

UNICEF supports governments and civil society in some 155 countries to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international standards. UNICEF’s rule of law work includes support to child rights legislative reform; justice for children; disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of children associated with armed forces and armed groups; monitoring and reporting of grave violations against children as per Security Council resolution 1612; and protection against abuse, exploitation and violence including trafficking and sexual and gender-based violence.

UNICEF supports the inclusion of child rights provisions in constitutions, the development of children’s codes and the review of relevant national laws to bring them in line with international standards. There are currently over 20 national constitutions with provisions dedicated to the protection of the rights of the child, including in Timor-Leste, Iraq, South Africa and Brazil. By the end of December 2008, 92 countries had prohibited violence against children by law including Cambodia, Vietnam, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Moldova and Uzbekistan. UNICEF also supports the establishment of independent human rights institutions for children in several countries.

UNICEF supports the establishment of juvenile justice systems that foster the harmonious reintegration of children in their communities in more than 120 countries and promotes diversion from judicial proceedings and alternatives to deprivation of liberty for children in conflict with the law. This includes mediation, community service or life skills programmes in numerous countries including Afghanistan, Brazil, Albania, Serbia, Lao Peoples Democratic Republic, Montenegro, the Philippines or Zambia.

UNICEF also supports the establishment of child-sensitive procedures for child victims and witnesses of crime in police stations and courts, including in Timor-Leste, Myanmar, Azerbaijan, Sudan, Cambodia, El Salvador, Papua New Guinea, Albania and Mozambique. Special units for victims, including legal assistance and counseling, were recently established in courts in Kenya, Morocco and Malawi.