Death sentence on children a violation of their rights

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juvenile detention

The sentencing of children below the age of 18 to death, life imprisonment without parole and corporal punishment, is a grave violation of the rights of the child, according to the UN Human Rights Chief.

Ms. Navi Pillay says close to 90 countries worldwide have legalized corporal punishment including flogging, stoning or amputation as disciplinary measures for crimes committed by children.

Speaking at the start of a debate by the Human Rights Council on the rights of the child, Ms. Pillay expressed regret that media and public perception that juvenile delinquency was on the increase was influencing states to enact laws on the treatment of young offenders but which end up violating children's rights.

The High Commissioner said young offenders must not be detained unnecessarily for long periods and must be allowed to access to legal counsel.

"In every case where a child is deprived of his or her liberty, we must ask ourselves what we hope to achieve in doing so, whether it is to punish, to rehabilitate or to simply remove difficult children from our sight. Children deprived of liberty may suffer anxiety, depression and feelings of hopelessness, particularly if they are separated from a family and or a community environment. Under international law, the deprivation of liberty of children should only be used as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time possible."

Duration 48"

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