Category - Empowerment of Detainees and Conflict Affected Persons

Empowerment of Detainees and Conflict Affected Persons

Posted onJune 15, 2009

The Juvenile justice project

IHR works in partnership with Save the children to provide legal assistance to children in the remand homes in the Western province and concentrates its efforts to strengthen services in the legal and social sphere to increase facilitation towards meaningful reintegration with the support of Network of lawyers for legal representations and social workers for reintegration of children in society.

The Institute of Human Rights (IHR) has also been closely working with the Department of Probation and Child Care at the central government and Western provincial government levels for a considerable time with the main purpose of providing free legal services for juveniles in the remand homes in the Western province towards reunification and reintegration. The two remand homes are Boys Remand Home in Kottawa and Girls Remand Home in Ranmuthugala.

Target group

a) Children in conflict with the la
b) Child victims of physical and sexual abuse
c) Children in need of care and Protection.
d) Children at risk of long term institutionalization.

Project sites:

K ottawa boys Remand Home Ranmuthugala girls Remand Home-Kadawatha.

Objective

Children in conflict with the law, Children in need of care or protection ,child victims of physical and sexual abuse in the Kottawa boys remand home and Ranmuthugala girls Remand homes in the Western province and the children at risk of separation from their families are provided with legal support to facilitate reintegration into society and to promote family based care.

Observations on impact/Results

It has been observed that there has been a 50% reduction of the number of children in remand at Kottawa Remand home , due to our intervention ,in comparison to the previous average of 50 juveniles at any given time at Kottawa Boys remand home.

Legal representation by Network of lawyers island wide

Strengthening the Network lawyers from different parts of the island who represent children’s cases ,will be coordinated on a daily basis for referral of cases and for follow up on action taken on behalf of the child.

Witness to a murder –Protection

A 16 year old boy was promised a job by a man in a boarding house. Over a previous private dispute the man had with the boarding house owner –a young man ,was stabbed to death .The boy was a witness to this murder and was sent to Kottawa remand home for protection from the murderer who threatened the boy that if he went to the Police he will be killed.

He ran away when he was under the custody of the Kottawa remand home. His guardians informed us that the boy had returned home. IHR intervened and facilitated his return to the remand home to avoid an additional case against him and to ensure his protection.

Legal representation and reunification

In February alone 42 children were represented in Court ,of which 17 were reunified with their guardians while 2 children without guardians were referred to Hunupitiya children’s home, in Wattala.Monitoring on reunified children Reunified children’s information will be referred to the Social workers ,who will visit/monitor the status of the child and the families for monitoring and follow up island wide.

Visiting the 2 remand homes/ Contacting/ Finding guardians Kottawa boys and Ranmuthugala girls remand homes are visited twice a week to collect new case details.

Outputs

  • Children are reunified and reintegrated with their families/Society
  • Children are provided with alternatives to institutions. Eg : Job referrals with accommodation without accommodation
  • Children at risk of separation remain in family setting due to assistance with legal representation .

Activities

  • Representing children in conflict with the law and children at risk of institutionalization in Court.
  • Expediting Court process.
  • Intervene to provide financial bail.
  • Establish contact with the families of children in conflict with the law and children at risk of institutionalization in Court.
  • Legal consultation to families .
  • Refer children for vocational training.
  • Strengthening the existing lawyers network

Indicators

50 children are reunified with their families .
No of referrals mapped increased.
No of children referred to Vocational training/on the job training increased.
No. of children prevented from separation increased.
At least 200 children are represented in Court.
At least 15 children are released on bail.
40 families benefit from legal consultations with a view of reunification with their child.

in house ,the number of children at the Kottawa remand home at present are ,from 20 to 25.

Juveniles accessing the boys remand home in 2007 -493
2008 -410

Psychosocial support Centre at IHR

The above centre was initiated to facilitate clients seeking legal aid to psychosocial support systems and referrals services besides legal advice and representation .

In February 8 clients were befriended and psychosocial support and referral were made.1 client’s representative made 20 visits, where the Unit appointed a lawyer to handle the legal matters and for the necessary follow up.

Orientation for Interns

36 Kelaniya University Final year -Sociology Interns (males and females ) who were referred to IHR were provided an orientation of the activities of IHR ,and our working sites.

Civil Society Network on Child Rights

“Civil Society Network on Child Rights” is a National Child rights Network .IHR is a founder member who actively participated and contributed towards the initiation of the network. Discussions on a ame ,membership, structure , autonomy, functions, concerns were discussed. The Co-group comprises of Save the children, Forut, World Vision, Plan, FIT.

Supplementary/Alternative report

As a part of a collaborative initiative to strengthen child rights monitoring and advocacy by Civil society in Srilanka, organizations such as FORUT, SAVE THE CHILDREN, FIT and WORLD VISION initiated a Forum to submit a report on child rights status. It is the first time such a report in consultation with children,is sent to the UN Committee. IHR is involved in preparing a CRC document on the family environment and special protection cluster draft report.

Issue Nos : 116 & 117 for the months Jan/February and March/April 2009 respectively were released.

“E Newsletter”
Since January 2009, IHR commenced to operate the “E-Newsletter