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:

Acknowledging that our crime prevention activities and criminal justice systems impact on children, and recognising our duty to prevent harm caused in the name of crime prevention and criminal justice, in line with our commitment to the rights of the child, we pledge to ensure that children are seen, children are heard, children are fully able to participate, and children’s rights are upheld in our criminal justice policy and practice.

The pledge sets out 7 key actions:

Across the world, States should implement child-friendly and rights-compliant criminal justice systems in line with international standards and best practice, in which children are empowered as agents of change, including by:

  1. Ensuring a child rights-based approach to criminal justice policy and practice, including by undertaking systematic and continuous training on this approach to all relevant professionals.
  2. Ensuring that the best interests of the child are a primary consideration in decisions that impact upon them, including at all stages of a parent or carer’s contact with criminal justice systems. 
  3. Upholding the child’s right to effective participation in all aspects of the development and implementation of criminal justice.
  4. Reviewing and reforming criminal justice legislation, policy and practice to bring them in line with the Committee on the Rights of the Child General Comment 24 on children’s rights and the child justice system.
  5. Implementing the recommendations of the Global Study on Children Deprived of their Liberty.
  6. Endorsing the Call to Action from the Pathfinders’ Task Force on Justice: the ‘Justice for Children, Justice for All’ initiative.
  7. Reconvene and assess progress made against the aforementioned commitments during the 2021 World Congress on Justice with Children, scheduled for November 2021.

The English and Spanish versions can be read below. 

Related Files

Related Areas of Work