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Anchorage Orphanage Case

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CHILD Protection & Child Rights » VII. International Mechanisms » United Nations » UN Rules for the Protection of Juveniles


An area of concern identified by the UN has been the treatment of children within state juvenile justice systems. Hence the UN drafted three documents of rules concerning child justice; the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Protection of Juvenile Justice 1985 (the Beijing Rules), the UN Guidelines for the Administration of Juvenile Delinquency 1990 (the Riyadh Guidelines), and the UN Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty 1990.

The main principles of the three rules are:

  • Depriving a child of his/her liberty should be a last resort and there should be a minimum period of deprivation set out by the state.
  • Deprivation of children's right to liberty should follow the provisions and norms as laid out in international law
  • The state should set up small open facilities where children can be tended to on an individual basis and hence avoid additional negative effects of deprivations of liberty
  • The institutions should have adequate facilities and meaningful activities for children to promote their health, safety and responsibilities. It should also provide them with all necessary skill trainings to become responsible members of society
  • Institutions should be decentralized to allow for children to continue having access to their families and community.
  • Juveniles deprived of their liberty should be aided in understanding their rights and obligations.
  • Personnel dealing with juveniles should have adequate training regarding child rights and welfare.
  • Juvenile Justice Systems should be aimed at helping and benefiting the child so that he/she can return to society with a better understanding of rights and responsibilities.

To read full texts of each of the rules visit the UN documents website