Terre des Hommes will be hosting the working session: Shifting the paradigm: Access to justice for children in contexts of legal pluralism.
In almost 30 years since the drafting of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, countries across the world have seen major and important transformations of justice systems for children. Many of those changes have occurred in formal justice systems, from the police to the judiciary. Less consideration has been given to the rights and needs of children in contexts of legal pluralism where different justice systems, including customary, indigenous and religious legal orders. Given that some estimates suggest that up to 90% of justice decisions occur in contexts of legal pluralism, it is important to understand how children in contact with the law, whether as victims, alleged offenders or witnesses, are treated by these systems, and how decision-making about children unfolds within dispute resolution.
In 2013, Tdh set out to address the gaps in knowledge about customary and indigenous justice systems for children, in order understand the relationships amongst different actors in such systems, and to explore ways of achieving better outcomes for children. Currently implemented across six countries (Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine and Panama) this action-oriented research seeks to provide real evidence and pilot examples to capture positive, restorative approaches for children and seek to change more harmful practices. The workshop will share some of the main highlights and results of this action-oriented research process, and engage the audience in critical discussions about how we can continue to improve access to justice for children in contexts of legal pluralism.