1st January 2009

The Quaker UN Office Geneva (QUNO), joined by the Eurochips network and the International Catholic Child Bureau (BICE), submitted a report on children with imprisoned parents this month to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, requesting that it consider dedicating a future Day of General Discussion on the subject.

There is growing awareness of the existence of this group of children within the UN CRC: the UN Human Rights Council’s resolution on the Rights of the Child, which was adopted without a vote at its 7th session last March, for the first time included a section on “Children of persons alleged to have or recognized as having infringed the penal law” which :

• “Calls upon all States to give attention to the impact of parental detention and imprisonment on children and, in particular:

(a) to give priority to non-custodial measures, when sentencing or deciding on pre-trial measures for a child’s sole or primary carer, subject to the need to protect the public and the child, and bearing in mind the gravity of the offence;

(b) to identify and promote good practices in relation to the needs and physical, emotional, social and psychological development of babies and children affected by parental detention and imprisonment.”

QUNO, BICE and EUROCHIPS strongly believe that a Day of General Discussion on the subject of prisoners’ children would have significant impact on the understanding, shared knowledge, and appreciation of a child rights approach in this area, and could lead to major improvements in State practice. Prison Reform International and the Scottish Commissioner for Children and Young People have also endorsed the initiative.

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Author: rmchristen