Afghan juvenile justice to be strengthened through support from UNICEF and UNODC

New partnership will help build capacity of justice officials, social workers and legal professionals

Kabul, 16 June 2005 -- A new partnership between the Afghan Ministry of Justice, UNICEF and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) will help to strengthen the juvenile justice sector in Afghanistan.

The partnership, which will be officially launched on Saturday 18 June, will see UNICEF and UNODC providing a range of training and technical support to up to 250 legal professionals, juvenile judges, juvenile prosecutors, social workers and juvenile police on issues including the new Afghan Juvenile Code, children's rights and international legal standards. UNICEF and UNODC are currently working in close cooperation also to support the Ministry of Justice, together with UNDP, for the Priority Reform and Restructure (PRR) initiative with the Juvenile Justice Department.

Afghanistan has taken several steps in recent months to strengthen legal systems for children. The Juvenile Code, officially published in May, raised the age of criminal responsibility from 7 to 12 years, recognized the definition of a child as being anyone under the age of 18 and set out a number of measures to improve the protection of children in conflict with the law, children at risk and in need of care and protection.. Earlier in 2005, UNICEF -- as part of its support to the Government of Afghanistan -- published a comparison of Afghan law and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to help legislators identify areas where further law revision is recommended. At the same time UNODC finalized the refurbishment of the Juvenile Court and provided basic furniture and equipment.

An official Memorandum of Understanding between UNICEF and UNODC will be signed on Saturday 18 June, at the UNODC offices in Wazir-Akhbar-Khan, Kabul. The signing ceremony will start at 11 a.m., in the presence of UNICEF Representative Bernt Aasen and UNODC Country Representative Doris Buddenberg.

UNICEF's support to the juvenile justice sector in Afghanistan is assisted financially by the Government of Italy, while UNODC support is assisted by the Governments of Italy, Austria and Canada.

Media contacts

Edward Carwardine, Head of Public Information
+93 (0) 796 07400

Mohammad Rafi, Assistant Communication Officer
+93 (0) 796 07403

United Nations Children's Fund
Afghanistan Country Office
UNOCA Compound
Jalalabad Road
Kabul, Afghanistan