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April 05, 2007

Rule of Law Initiative and UNICEF Conduct Child Justice Training in Liberia


One of the most pressing justice-related issues currently facing Liberian youth is the lack of a functioning judiciary that can deliver justice in a timely manner while taking into account the peculiar nature of youth offenders in a post-conflict environment.

To improve the judicial system's capacity to address the special issues surrounding youth offenders in Liberia, the Rule of Law Initiative's Africa Division, with the support of UNICEF, conducted a week-long training workshop on child justice issues from Feb 19-23, 2007, in Monrovia, Liberia. The training followed up on a joint Rule of Law Initiative/UNICEF assessment of the Liberian child justice system in July 2006 that called for specialized training for all stakeholders in the system.

The workshop drew together Acting Juvenile Judge James Kumeh, representatives from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the Liberian National Police, the National Association of Prison Monitors (NAPRIM), the Prison Assistance Project (PAP), Don Bosco Homes, the International Rescue Commission (IRC), legal aid lawyers, THINK and the Christian Children's Fund (CCF) as well as Africa Division and UNICEF field staff.

The participants formulated a set of concrete short and medium-term priorities for enhancing justice for children. The workshop recommendations will be presented to Liberia's Children Protection Network, a coalition of NGOs and governmental agencies involved in child welfare, for further discussion and implementation.