Areas of Work

Children of Incarcerated Parents

QUNO works to highlight the series impact of parental incarceration on children and to strengthen standards and guidance. Our  efforts are  rooted in Quaker beliefs in equality, justice, and the inherent worth of all of us is not negated by people’s actions.

Since 2003, QUNO has highlighted the ways in which children are deeply affected at various levels by parental imprisonment. We have included a specific focus on the rights of children of parents sentenced to death or executed. More recently, QUNO began exploring the specific situation of children of parents accused or convicted of designated terrorist offences, recognising that children in specific situations face additional risks of rights violations.

Our work  focusses on the UN’s crime and criminal justice processes as well as  the human rights mechanisms.  We convene a Child Rights Connect working group with a number of members advocating on and with children of incarcerated parents and we maintain a database of the relevant Committee on the Rights of the Child concluding observations. The Working Group supported the Committee on the Rights of the Child’s Day of General Discussion on children of incarcerated parents in 2011. More recently, QUNO was a member of the NGO Panel for the UN’s Global Study on Children Deprived of their Liberty providing independent expert advice in the development of the chapter on children deprived of liberty with their parents in criminal justice settings.

We recognise that children affected by these issues should be consulted in child-friendly ways so we can hear their perspective and aim to advocate for this in the work we do.

Recent Timeline Events

March 2021

Kyoto Pledge on Child Rights and Criminal Justice

Together with partner organisations who champion the child rights in criminal justice systems we are calling on all actors to support the vision expressed in our Kyoto Pledge for Child Rights and Criminal Justice. Released ahead of the 14th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice the Pledge sets out a vision for criminal justice systems in which children are seen, children are heard, and children’s rights are upheld and asks States and others to commit to:


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September 2020

QUNO delivers oral statement on children of parents sentenced to death or executed

Human Rights and Refugees Programme Assistant Najmah Ali delivering oral statement.

As part of our work to uphold the rights of children of parents sentenced to death or executed QUNO raises this issue in relevant UN meetings, highlighting legal developments and calling on all to act to limit their suffering.


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July 2020

Children of Incarcerated Parents and Violence Against Children: QUNO delivers oral statement to 44th Human Rights Council

During the 44th session of the Human Rights Council, QUNO delivered an oral statement at the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence Against Children, Najat Maalla M'jid. The statement, delivered by Programme Assistant Lucy Halton, highlighted the ways in which children of incarcerated parents experience violence at many levels, including the heightened risks they are encountering during the Covid-19 pandemic.


Related Areas of Work