Resources for:

Children of Prisoners

March 2020

Children of Incarcerated Parents - International Standards and Guidelines

Children of incarcerated parents continue to face a range of challenges to the full respect for and enjoyment of their rights. This Briefing Paper provides an update to QUNO’s previous publication, offering an overview of the international legal standards applicable to these children. The paper incorporates information from legal instruments, treaty bodies, and other guidance from the United Nations and regional systems in both human rights and criminal justice fields. The paper is designed to promote the rights of these children, to aid States and other actors in ensuring that these rights are protected in practice, and to contribute to contribute to improving standards.

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March 2020

Working Paper: Human Rights Concerns for Children of Parents Accused or Convicted of Association with Designated Terrorist Groups

For over 15 years, QUNO has worked to draw attention to the impact on children of parental incarceration and clarify the existing human rights protection in international law. This paper draws on that work to outline the additional specific rights violations faced by children because their parents are accused or convicted of association with designated terrorist groups.

We welcome comments on the paper to lhalton@quno.ch.

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June 2019

Briefing Tools for Practitioners—Children: unseen victims of the death penalty

 The Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) is committed to the abolition of the death penalty in all its forms. We believe that bringing light to the issue of the impact of the parental death penalty on children contributes to the broader abolitionist movement and can contribute to the eradication of the death penalty worldwide.

The issue of the impact on children of parents sentenced to death or executed is applicable to all countries, and at all stages of the process, from arrest through to post-execution; there are parents everywhere. Focusing on the experience of the children who are affected can help in turn to humanize those sentenced to death, by representing them as people who give and receive love—as individual human beings, and not only as the crimes they may have committed.

This set of briefing tools is intended to inform decision makers, including defence lawyers, sentencers and legislators, and also diplomats and State representatives, of the impact on children and the relevant international legal standards in order to change policy and practice.

French and English language versions are available below.

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March 2019

QUNO statements at the 40th Human Rights Council

At the 40th session of the Human Rights Council, QUNO delivered an oral statement (and submitted a written counterpart providing further information) focussing on the ways in which the sentencing to death or execution of a parent violates the best interests principle, particularly where the death sentence is mandatory, and often violates the child's right to non-discrimination. 

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February 2019

Protection of the Rights of Children of Parents Sentenced to Death or Executed: An Expert Legal Analysis

This paper presents a legal analysis of the protection of the human rights of children of parents sentenced to death or executed. An earlier legal analysis by the Quaker United Nations Office explored the effects of parental imprisonment on the rights of the child. This analysis does not repeat the points made there regarding the effects on children when a parent is imprisoned, but instead focuses on the particular impact on the rights of the child of a parent’s death sentence or execution. 

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May 2017

Committee on the Rights of the Child Work to date: Children of incarcerated parents

The Committee on the Rights of the Child has provided interpretation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and guidance to States on the issue of children of incarcerated parents for over ten years. This briefing provides a short summary of the work it has done so far.

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March 2017

Can the children of parents sentenced to death or executed be considered victims of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment?

QUNO has prepared a written statement for the 34th session of the Human Rights Council, highlighting that the sentencing to death or execution of a parent leads to a violation of the child’s right to be free from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment (CIDT) or torture under international law. The statement outlines the severe impact of the death penalty on children, specific death penalty situations where there is robust evidence of a violation, as well as recommendations for States and the UN.

On 14th March, there will be a High-Level Panel on the death penalty, looking at how it relates to the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. We will also be presenting an oral statement during this discussion.

 

 

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November 2016

Mental Health, Human Rights and Criminal Justice submission to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

This briefing is QUNO's input to an open request for information by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the topic of mental health and human rights. It focusses on the links between criminal justice, mental health and rights protection, with a particular focus on children of parents in the criminal justice system.

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August 2016

Geneva Reporter

In this issue:

  • Can recent international attention on the issue of nuclear disarmament lead to any meaningful action?
  • Climate science in simple, personal and ethical terms
  • Forgotten victims: children of parents sentenced to death or executed
  • Highlights from QUNO New York

 

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July 2016

QUNO Submission the the Yearly Supplement of the quinquennial report on capital punishment, 2016

QUNO's submission to the Secretary-General, in contribution to the collation of the 2016 Yearly Supplement to his Quinquennial Report on Capital Punishment focuses on the rights of the children of parents sentenced to death of executed, and updates in international legal standards in this area since the 2015 report. 

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September 2015

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

QUNO delivered an oral statement on the rights of children of parents sentenced to death or executed during the 30th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The issue was raised by QUNO in response to an update to the UN Secretary General's report on Capital punishment and implementation of the safeguards guaranteeing the protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty.

Daniel Cullen, Programme Assistant for Human Rights and Refugees, delivered the statement during the General Debate discussion on Friday 18 September.

Text and video (beginning at 01:41:30) is available below: 

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April 2015

Children of Incarcerated Parents International Standards and Guidance

The risks faced by children of incarcerated parents can be compounded by criminal justice and penal systems that do not take notice of their existence or do not see their rights as relevant considerations. This briefing outlines the current position in regard to international standards pertaining to children of incarcerated parents, bringing together legal instruments, treaty body recommendations and other guidance issued by international bodies. The purpose of this briefing is to promote the recognition of the rights of children of incarcerated parents, to guide States in their domestic consideration of how to ensure the rights of such children and to contribute to improving standards.

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August 2014

Children of parents sentenced to the death penalty or executed: developments, good practices and next steps

This new publication shares perspectives and learning from a side event at the 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council organized by the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) together with Belgium, Mexico, Montenegro and Norway. At the side-event, experts reflected on a number of key issues, including violence against children; the specific application of the death penalty in Japan; good practices in the assistance of foreign nationals on death row abroad by the Mexican government; and developments in the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Universal Periodic Review Process and the UN General Assembly. 

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May 2014

Video: Children of Parents Sentenced to Death

 

 

This video explores the situation of children when their parent is sentenced to the death penalty or executed. Drawing on perspectives shared at the side-event co-sponsored by QUNO in September 2013 at the Human Rights Council session, experts from around the world indicated the experiences of children of parents sentenced to death. This video highlights the stigma and discrimination faced by these children and addresses how they are often "ignored, not thought about or conveniently forgotten."

This video was prepared with the Child Rights Connect Working Group on Children of Incarcerated Parents.

 

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March 2014

Children of Parents Sentenced to Death or Executed, written statement submitted by FWCC to the 25th session of the Human Rights Council

This written statement to the 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) provides an overview of developments in the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Universal Periodic Review and the General Assembly since the holding of the HRC Panel on Children of parents sentenced to the death or executed.  It recommends, among other things, prompt implementation of the recommendation for a UN expert seminar on the issue, and that moratoria extend to the imposition of death sentences, in addition to executions, and are accompanied by commutation of all existing death sentences.

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March 2014

Oral Statement: Violence experienced by Children of Parents Sentenced to Death or Executed

Delivered to the 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council - Interactive Dialogue with the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence against Children.

This statement highlights the psychological and mental violence experienced by children when their parents are sentenced to death or executed. These children have been invisible in statistics, policies and programmes. The statement provides examples of the welcome increasing attention in the UN to the situation and rights of these children. FWCC (Quakers) recommends that much more is done to understand how and why these children are exposed to violence and to undertake actions that can lead to their effective protection.

To view a video recording of the oral statement by QUNO's Rachel Brett, click here.

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