On Wednesday 18 January 2012, the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights opened a workshop titled “Juvenile Justice under International Conventions and National Laws,” held at the training hall of the Rafah Municipality building. About 60 persons—parents, lawyers, journalists, human rights activists, and representatives of the Family and Childhood Department at the Ministry of Social Affairs—participated in the workshop. This workshop constitutes one component of the “Enhancing Legal Aid for Victims of Human Rights Violations in the Gaza Strip” project, implemented by Al Mezan with support from the United Nations Development Program - Program of Assistance to the Palestinian People (UNDP/PAPP, Rule of Law Program).
Yihya Mhareb, the project lawyer, opened the workshop by welcoming the participants. He expressed his hope that the workshop would meet the participants’ expectations and motivate them to increase their efforts to ensure respect for human rights and law. He highlighted the importance of the workshop, which covers the position of children under the law in detail. He also noted that Al Mezan has always called for development of the Palestinian juvenile justice sector in order to ensure better protection for children in conflict with the law.
The participants were introduced to various topics related to juvenile justice, the situation of children in conflict with the law, and their protection under Palestinian national and international laws. Lawyer Alaa’ Al Ashi and Dr. Abdel Qader Jarada, legal consultants at the Palestinian Legislative Council, led the two sessions of the workshop.
The topic sparked many interesting discussions, as a number of parents of children in conflict with the law presented their experiences and those of their children with the justice system in Palestine.
The workshop is part of a wider campaign led by Al Mezan to advance principles of protection of children through development of the juvenile justice sector. In January and February 2012, several media and awareness-raising activities will be carried out as part of this campaign.