United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency
Geert Cappelaere, University of Ghent, Children’s Rights Centre
The Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (Havana, 1990) gave birth to two important resolutions related to the phenomenon of juvenile delinquency:
*Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency (Resolution 45/112)
*Rules for the Protection of Youngsters Deprived of their Liberty (Resolution 45/113)
Both resolutions complement the previously adopted (1985) Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (Resolution 40/33). In this respect, it is very interesting and important to link these different instruments, as mentioned in point 8 of the Preamble of the Guidelines where the Secretary General is requested to issue a compendium on the different UN juvenile justice standards.
The United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency, also called the Riyadh Guidelines, referring to an important international experts’ meeting on the draft text held in the Saudi Arabian capital (1988), are also interesting for many other reasons. They reveal for example a rather positive, pro-active approach to prevention and are, perhaps for that reason, very comprehensive. In the meantime, the Guidelines certainly express a growing awareness that children are fully-fledged human beings, an attitude which was far from dominant in Western (oriented) countries in the 19th century, but which is rather obvious in other very recent regulations as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989). We will concentrate in depth on both evolutions as such, without neglecting a concrete overview of the Riyadh Guidelines themselves.
Since 1955, the United Nations have organised a congress on Crime Prevention and Treatment of Offenders every five years, bringing together representatives of the world’s national Governments, specialists in crime prevention and criminal justice, scholars of international repute and members of the NGOs concerned. The aim of these meetings has been to discuss problems, share professional experiences and seek viable solutions to crime. Their recommendations are intended to have an impact on the legislative bodies of the United Nations and on national and local Governments.
Juvenile delinquency and its prevention have been items on the agenda of nearly all United Nations Congresses on Crime Prevention and Treatment of Offenders.
The discussion on juvenile crime prevention even attracted the largest number of participants at the first congress (Geneva, 1955). Juvenile delinquency was treated as a broad category, comprising problems relating to youthful offenders but also to abandoned, orphaned and maladjusted minors. The second congress (London, 1960) already recommended limiting the concept of juvenile delinquency to violations of criminal law, excluding vaguely anti-social behaviour or rebellious attitudes which are widely associated with the process of growing up.
We will find this restricted approach again in the Riyadh Guidelines. Article 56, for instance, states “Any conduct not considered an offence or penalized if committed by an adult should not be considered an offence or penalized if committed by a young person”.
The sixth congress (Caracas, 1980) debated the theme of ?Crime prevention and quality of life’. This congress was important not only because of its pro-active approach of prevention but also because of the impetus it gave towards more “binding” engagements in dealing with juvenile crime.
The provision of social justice for all children was strongly emphasised as a factor of prevention.
Indeed, prevention was considered to be more than just tackling negative situations, but to be rather the promotion of welfare and well-being. The Riyadh Guidelines will be a concrete step in this direction. Article 2 for instance says: “Prevention of juvenile delinquency requires efforts by the entire society to ensure the harmonious development of adolescents, with respect for and promotion of their personality from their early childhood”.
Although the topic of juvenile delinquency had been discussed throughout the UN Congresses on Crime Prevention and Treatment of Offenders, only in 1980 (Caracas) came the decision to materialise this attention in concrete recommendations. In 1985 (Milano) the so-called Beijing Rules were adopted: the Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice. In 1990 (Havana) two complementary instruments were accepted.
The fact that the interest in the legal protection of children has begun to increase only recently, can certainly help explain why the UN recommendations in this field too are of recent date.
THE Content of the Guidelines
We already mentioned in the introduction that, to our minds, the United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency have three main characteristics:
1.they are very comprehensive;
2.they promote a pro-active approach of prevention;
3.they consider children to be fully-fledged participants in society.
In analysing these guiding principles, the contents of the Guidelines themselves will be explained. We discuss these principles separately, though their interdependence is evident.
The Guidelines deal with almost every social area: the three main environments in the socialization process (family, school and community); the mass media; social policy; legislation and Juvenile Justice administration.
General prevention (art. 9) has to consist of “comprehensive prevention plans at every governmental level” and should include among others mechanisms for the coordination of efforts between governmental and non-governmental agencies; continuous monitoring and evaluation; community involvement through a wide range of services and programmes; interdisciplinary cooperation; youth participation in prevention policies and processes.
On several occasions, it has been stressed that prevention policies should be primarily general policies for all young people: “educational and other opportunities to serve as a supportive framework for the personal development of all young persons¼”.
The chapter on the “socialization processes” is introduced in article 10: “Emphasis should be placed on preventive policies facilitating the successful socialization and integration of all children and young persons, in particular through the family, the community, peer groups, schools, vocational training and the world of work, as well as through voluntary organizations¼”.
The comprehensive character of the Riyadh Guidelines is also interesting because of the link it suggests with the purpose of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989). Comprehensiveness is, there again, one of the main features. The common aim is to improve the overall situation of children. Moreover, the Guidelines also stress the importance of such policies in crime prevention.
Prevention, as expressed in the Guidelines, has to focus on upgrading the quality of life, the overall well-being, and not merely on the immediate restriction of well-defined but partial problems.
The aim should thus be not just the prevention of ?negative’ situations (a defensive approach) but rather the promotion of the social potential (an offensive approach).
The comprehensive character is of course an important expression of that pro-active approach of prevention. More concrete examples can be found in article 6: “Community-based services should be developed ¼ Formal agencies of social control should be utilized only as a last resort”. As juvenile justice systems are mostly part of the formal social control system, prevention cannot be limited to efforts within that juvenile justice system as such. Prevention is much more than re-acting to juvenile delinquency !
Article 2 reflects the same approach: “Prevention of juvenile delinquency requires efforts by the entire society to ensure the harmonious development of adolescents, with respect for and promotion of their personality from early childhood”. It should be mentioned that, although there was a certain discussion on the topic, the Guidelines do not specify what the terms child, adolescents, youth, etc. stand for. Perhaps, in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, human beings huntill 18 years of age can be considered to be the first target group of the Guidelines.
The pro-active approach is also present in the different topics the educational systems should devote attention to (art. 21): e.g. “teaching basic values and developing respect for the child’s own culture, for the social values of the country in which the child is living, for civilizations different from the child’s own and for human rights and fundamental freedoms¼”
Promotion of human rights is the best tool for “peace” keeping; it was already stated in the first paragraphs of the United Nations Charter (1945). “Young persons and their families should be informed about the law and their rights and responsibilities, as well as the universal value system, including United Nations instruments” (art. 23).
And what about the mass media? “The mass media should ensure that young persons have access to information from a diversity of national and international sources” (art. 40). “The mass media should portray the positive contributions of young people to society” (art. 41). “Information on services, facilities and opportunities for young persons should be disseminated” (art. 42).
Articles 52 and 57 should be mentioned in particular. Article 52: “Specific laws and procedures should be enacted and applied to promote and to protect the rights ¼ of all young persons¼”. Article 57: “Consideration should be given to establishing an office of ombudsman or similar independent organ, to ensure that the status, rights and interests of young persons are upheld¼”. Here again the link with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is very clear. At the same time these articles summarize, through the (human) rights concept, the structural approach on which pro-active handling and thinking is based. A structural approach of social reality tends toemphasise the parallelism between values, standards and patterns as the basis of a society on the one hand, and their expression in social structures, in the institutions of society and in inter-human behaviour and relationships, on the other. Here, the analyses of social problems (problems related to inter-human behaviour and relationships) are not aimed at specification; they can emphasise the existence of a common denominator; they are aimed at generalisation. Within this context, prevention is said to modify the structure of a society and the values of a culture. As a result of the structural approach of social reality, the promotion of the legal status of children (i.e. the recognition of their legal capacity Cfr. children’s rights) and the multiplication of their chances of self-determination and of participation in democratic decision-making have become main centres of attention.
The issue of participation will lead us to the third guiding principle of the Riyadh Guidelines.
However, it is important to remark that the Guidelines also deal with ?special’ situations and ?special’ groups of people. Yet, only after having stressed the general approach first, and only if this would not be successful or satisfactory, a special approach should still remain possible.
Even delinquents are in the first place human beings, citizens.
For example, after having explained the challenges of the educational system in general, article 24 states: “Particular attention should be extended to young persons who are at social risk, utilizing specialized programmes and educational materials”. Article 30 provides: “Special assistance should be given to students who find it difficult to comply with attendance codes and to drop-outs”.
Article 38 states: “Government agencies should take special responsibility and provide necessary services for homeless children or street-children; information about local facilities, accommodation, employment and other forms and sources of help should be made readily available to young persons”. Other particular situations considered in the Guidelines are, for example, child abuse (art. 53, art. 49); demeaning and degrading presentations in the mass media (art. 43); drug abuse (art. 44, art. 45, art. 59).
Article 58 deals with the important issue of training. It stresses that “Law enforcement and other relevant personnel, of both sexes, should be trained to respond to the special needs of young persons and should be familiar with and use, to the maximum extent possible, programmes and referral possibilities for the diversion of young persons from the justice system”.
Western history shows that children have not always been considered in the same way. Cross-cultural research can teach us a lot about different images of the child,. The present prevalent opinion, especially in Western countries, is that children belong to a ?separate social category’, the ?not-yet-beings’.
Over the last decades, however, this image of the child has been turned into a topic of real discussion for a variety of reasons. However, despite the Children rights’ movement for saving children, itself as a result of the currently dominant child image, the situation of the world’s children has not improved that much. On the positive side, people stress among others the ontological principle that the child is in the first place a human being and not an object.
This discussion takes place in almost all social and legal areas where the child is involved. One of the trends expresses an increased respect for the fully-fledged social and legal position of the child: the child as a fully-fledged participant in society. The Riyadh Guidelines are very good examples of how this particular trend can be reflected in rules.
Article 3 (Fundamental Principles) starts with the statement that “A child-centred orientation should be pursued. Young persons should have an active role and partnership within society and should not be considered mere objects of socialization or control”.
It is impossible to mention all stipulations which go in the same direction. We limit ourselves to the most challenging examples, such as article 10, which is essential for all areas of socialisation: “¼Due respect should be given to the proper personal development of children and young persons, and they should be accepted as full and equal partners in socialization and integration processes”.
Or article 31 which states: “School policies should be fair and equitable, and students should be represented in school policy, including policy on discipline and decision-making”.
A last example is taken from the chapter on social policy: “¼young persons should be involved in formulation and implementation of prevention programmes”.
Perhaps these different examples appear to be very evident. However, considerations about children as fully-fledged participants are rather new in the legislation process, especially within the context of prevention of juvenile delinquency.
The impact of the Guidelines
It might be interesting to recall once again the role of the UN Congresses on Crime Prevention and their decisions: on the one hand they are a forum for an in-depth debate on a universal level about the challenges experienced in the entire world, and on the other hand the adopted resolutions should have an impact on international, national and local legislative bodies.
The “moral” impact
The UN Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency are certainly challenging for everybody who is concerned with juvenile justice, and for several reasons.
It is clear that in many countries the present systems for coping with juvenile crime are discussed. Juvenile delinquency has been questioned as long as people live together.
The efforts of the United Nations Criminal Justice Branch to establish universal standards in the field of juvenile justice (prevention, “punishment”, “imprisonment”) are in this respect very important. They can be very helpful as starting points for discussions ?on the spot’. Promotion and distribution of the different texts as a whole (Cfr. compendium) are therefore very welcome.
The Riyadh Guidelines are, within the framework of criminological science, probably one of the most advanced proposals.
The concept to separate, at least partially, the prevention efforts from the illicit behaviour and to link them to a general (social) policy, is quite new. In this way, the prevention of juvenile delinquency becomes a (side) effect of a general policy, aimed at promoting overall welfare and well-being.
Juvenile delinquency is not the only, and not even a minor reason for initiating such a policy. In a just society, respect for the human rights of every individual, are all the more decisive. Not just delinquents should be focused, but all citizens, and in that way also delinquents.
Respect for the UN Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency could mean a small step towards a fair, equitable, respectful society, also because of the challenging attitude towards children. To consider children as a fully-fledged part of society responds to the aims of the Children’s Rights Movement.
Taking into consideration the enthusiastic reactions on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (168 ratifications in less than 5 years), these Guidelines, adopted one year after the Convention, might share this success and bring about a certain social change.
The legal impact
The Guidelines, as the two other UN instruments on juvenile justice, are soft law, thus not directly binding for international, national and local legislative bodies.
However, the importance of these different texts should not necessarily be limited to their “moral” impact. Article 7 of the Guidelines says indeed that “These Guidelines should be interpreted and implemented within the framework of all United Nations instruments and norms relating to rights, interests and well-being of all children and young persons, and implemented in the context of the economic, social and cultural conditions in each Member State”.
All other more binding Human Rights Conventions, for instance, can thus be helpful in implementing the Riyadh Guidelines. The link with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child should be studied in particular, also in this respect.
It might help to surmount a very important obstacle in the realisation of the Guidelines: “the economic, social and cultural conditions in each Member State”, (art. 8) are often an excuse to do nothing.
Article 4 of the UN Convention therefore introduces the supportive framework of international co-operation.
As the Convention itself is more binding for Member States and as many of the Guidelines are in their content, in their inspirations and in their ambitions comparable to many stipulations of that Convention, their realization can be much more compulsory. The fact that the link with the prevention of juvenile delinquency is not at all obvious in the Convention is, of course, of minor importance, as this is also in the Guidelines “rather an excuse” for promoting a general (social) policy aiming at the biggest possible well-being of each citizen.
We already mentioned point 8 of the preamble of the Riyadh Guidelines in our introduction: “The General Assembly requests the Secretary-General to issue a composite manual on juvenile justice standards¼” which would contain the provisions of the three resolutions and a set of full commentaries. Such a compendium will be very important in the process of informing policy-makers, juvenile justice professionals and young people themselves throughout the world about the necessary conditions and quality requirements for a humane and constructive approach of (problem-) children. In each resolution, the Member States are called upon to bring the juvenile justice standards to the attention of all relevant authorities. Here again, a link with the (implementation of) the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child might be obvious. Article 42 of the Convention states: “States Parties undertake ?action’ to make the principles and provisions of the Convention widely known, by appropriate and active means, to adults and children alike.”
Another important step towards a compulsory implementation can be realised through the establishment of an Ombudsman for Children. Article 57 of the Guidelines says: “Consideration should be given to the establishment of an office of ombudsman or similar independent organ, which would ensure that the status, rights and interests of young persons are upheld and that proper reference to available services is made. The ombudsman or other organ designated would also have to supervise the implementation of the Riyadh Guidelines, the Beijing Rules and the Rules for the Protection of Juveniles deprived of their Liberty. The ombudsman or other organ would, at regular intervals, publish a report on the progress made and on the difficulties encountered in the implementation of the instruments. Child advocacy services should also be established.”
Establishing an Ombudsman for Children, as a part of child advocacy, is an important strategy for improving the social position of children. Other strategies which can already be observed within the ?Children’s Rights Movement’ are child study, i.e. the studies of childhood as a social phenomenon; the development of networks of people and organisations who aim, mostly for better (legal) protection of children and not least the self-organisation of children. The Riyadh Guidelines and each of these strategies are encouraging. We thoroughly discussed the attention to children’s participation
(Cfr. self-organisation); article 60 tends to promote interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary interaction and co-ordination (Cfr. the idea of network development).
Article 57 on the establishment of an office of ombudsman contains important information on the scope, the possible assignments of such an office but also on some of the necessary quality requirements which should be met in order not to devalue the initiative.
Since a children’s ombudsman is concerned with the status, the rights and the interests of the child, he or she will also have to deal with (but not exclusively) juvenile justice matters.
A children’s ombudsman has to defend the rights and interests of the child; to refer children to appropriate (social) services; to supervise the legal protection of children, as defined in many national and international (human rights) instruments. The ombudsman, as well as the Member States (Cfr. preambula, point 12), should also report on (the difficulties encountered in) the implementation of these instruments. In its articles 44 and 45, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child compels each State Party to report on the measures they have adopted and which give effect to the rights recognized in the Convention, and on the progress made on the enjoyment of those rights. The reports will indicate factors and difficulties affecting the degree of fulfilment of the obligations under the Convention.
There is however an important difference between the reporting by an ombudsman and the reporting by a State Party. A difference which has to do with one of the major characteristics of the office of an ombudsman: its independency. In Norway, for instance, the Children’s Ombudsman is independent of the legislative power, the judiciary system and the executive power. An Ombudsman, under these conditions, can give essential (complementary) information or corrections on the report of the State Party.
Other quality requirements for an ombudsman-office, not mentioned however in article 57, are: free access to all public and private institutions; those institutions have the duty to provide the ombudsman with all relevant information; the ombudsman has the competence to relieve others of their professional oath of confidentiality, combined with his/her own extended right to protect sources; the ombudsman can act on his own initiative or at the request of other people; the office is easily accessible, also for children.
As we already mentioned in our introduction, the United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency are important for several reasons. The efforts of the United Nations in the field of juvenile justice are remarkable and challenging. This certainly goes for the so-called Riyadh Guidelines too.
Indeed, the Guidelines are an expression of recent developments in the social and judicial approach to children. Children are seen less as objects, rather as fully-fledged human beings with their own capacities which should be valued and protected. The claim for the recognition of the human rights of children is complementing, step by step, child protection.
The human rights issue is as challenging a concept in criminology. Prevention of crime is no longer restricted to the reactions towards “dangerous” behaviour or situations; prevention goes as much with the promotion and respect of human rights (civil, political, social, cultural and economic rights) in every individual. Here again the Guidelines are showing the way how such a fundamental starting point can be translated in policy and in practice.
The Riyadh Guidelines are part of a recent but very strong movement for human rights (of children); their aim goes far beyond prevention of juvenile delinquency. A fair and just society is, with out any doubt, the best ground and the first soil for crime.
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United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989.
United Nations Guidelines
for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency
Resolution 45 / 112
14 December1990, 68th plenary session
The General Assembly,
Bearing in mind the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as other international instruments pertaining to the rights and well-being of young persons, including relevant standards established by the International Labour Organisation,
Bearing in mind also the Declaration of the Rights of the Child *, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile justice (The Beijing Rules),
Recalling General Assembly resolution 40/33 of 29 November 1983, in which the Assembly adopted the Unite Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice recommended by the seventh United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders,
Recalling also that the General Assembly, in its resolution 40/35 of 29 November 1985, called for the development of standards for the prevention of juvenile delinquency which would assist Member States in formulating and implementing specialized programmes and policies, emphasizing assistance, care and community involvement, and called upon the Economic And Social Council to report to the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime the Treatment of Offenders on the progress achieved with respect to the standards, for review and action,
Recalling further that the Economic and Social Council, in resolution 1986/10 of 21 May 1986, requested the Eight Congress to consider the standards for the prevention of juvenile delinquency, with the view to adoption,
Recognizing the need to develop national, regional and international approaches and strategies for the prevention of juvenile delinquency,
Affirming that every child has basic human rights, including, in particular, access to free education,
Mindful of the large number of young persons who may or may not be in conflict with the law but who are abandoned, neglected, abused, exposed to drug abuse, in marginal circumstances, and who are in general at social risk,
Taking into account the benefits of progressive policies for the prevention of delinquency and the welfare of the community,
1. Notes with satisfaction the substantive work accomplished by Committee on Crime Prevention and Control and the Secretary-General in the formulation of the guidelines for
the prevention of juvenile delinquency;
2. Expresses appreciation for the valuable collaboration of the Security Studies and Training Centre at Riyadh, in hosting the International Meeting of Experts on Juvenile Delinquency,
held at Riyadh from 28 February to 1 March 1988, in cooperation with the United Nations Office at Vienna;
3. Adopts the United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Delinquency contained in the annex to the present resolution, to be called the Riyadh Guidelines;
4. Calls upon Member States, in their comprehensive crime prevention plans, to apply the Guidelines in national law, policy and practice and bring the Guidelines to the attention of relevant authorities, including policy makers, juvenile justice personnel, educators, the mass media, practitioners and scholars;
5. Requests the Secretary-General and invites Member States to ensure the widest possible dissemination of the text of the Guidelines in all official languages of the United Nations;
6. Further requests the Secretary-General and invites all relevant United Nations offices and interested institutions, in particular, the United Nations Children’s Fund, as well as individual experts, to make a concerted effort to promote the application of the Guidelines;
7. Also requests the Secretary-General to intensify research on particular situations of social risk and on the exploitation of children, including the use of children as instruments of criminality, with a view to developing comprehensive countermeasures and to report thereon to the Ninth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders;
8. Further requests the Secretary-General to issue a composite manual on juvenile justice standards, containing the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules Guidelines on the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency (The Riyadh Guidelines), and the United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty **, and a set of full commentaries on their provisions;
9. Urges all relevant bodies within the United Nations system to collaborate with the Secretary-General in taking appropriate measures to ensure the implementation of the present resolution;
10. Invites the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities of the Commission on Human Rights to consider this new international instrument with a view to promoting the application of its provisions;
11. Invites Member States to support strongly the organization of technical and scientific workshops, and pilot and demonstration projects on practical issues and policy matters relating to the application of the provisions of the Guidelines and to the establishment of concrete measures for community-based services designed to respond to the special needs, problems and concerns of young persons, and requests the Secretary-General to co-ordinate efforts in this respect;
12. Also invites Member States to inform the Secretary-General on the implementation of the Guidelines and to report regularly to the Committee on Crime Prevention and Control on the results achieved;
13. Recommends that the Committee on Crime Prevention and Control request the Ninth Congress to review the progress made in the promotion made in the promotion and application of the Riyadh Guidelines and the recommendations contained in the present resolution, under a separate agenda item on juvenile justice and keep the matter under constant review.
- Resolution 1386 (XIV)
- *Resolution 45 / 113, annex
I. FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES
1.The prevention of juvenile delinquency is an essential part of crime prevention in society. By engaging in lawful, socially useful activities and adopting a humanistic orientation towards society and outlook on life, young persons can develop non-criminogenic attitudes.
2.The successful prevention of juvenile delinquency requires efforts on the part of the entire society to ensure the harmonious development of adolescents, with respect for and promotion of their personality from early childhood.
3.For the purposes of the interpretation of the present Guidelines, a child-centred orientation should be pursued. Young persons should have an active role and partnership within society and should not be considered as mere objects of socialization or control.
4.In the implementation of the present Guidelines, in accordance with national legal systems, the well-being of young persons from their early childhood should be the focus of any preventive programme.
5.The need for and importance of progressive delinquency prevention policies and the systematic study and the elaboration of measures should be recognized. These should avoid criminalizing and penalizing a child for behaviour that does not cause serious damage to the development of the child or harm to others. Such policies and measures should involve:
a)The provision of opportunities, in particular educational opportunities, to meet the varying needs of young persons and to serve as a supportive framework for safeguarding the personal development of all young persons, particularly those who are demonstrably endangered or at social risk and are in need of special care and protection;
b)Specialized philosophies and approaches for delinquency prevention, on the basis of laws, processes, institutions, facilities and a service delivery network aimed at reducing the motivation, need and opportunity for, or conditions giving rise to, the commission of infractions;
c)Official intervention to be pursued primarily in the overall interest of the young person and guided by fairness and equity;
d)Safeguarding the well-being, development, rights and interests of all young persons;
e)Consideration that youthful behaviour or conduct that does not conform to overall social norms and values is often part of the maturation and growth process and tends to disappear spontaneously in most individuals with the transition to adulthood;
f ) Awareness that, in the predominant opinion of experts, labelling a young person as “deviant”, “delinquent” or “pre-delinquent” often contributes to the development of a consistent pattern of undesirable behaviour by young persons.
6.Community-based services and programmes should be developed for the prevention of juvenile delinquency, particularly where no agencies have yet been established. Formal agencies of social control should only be utilized as a means of last resort.
II. SCOPE OF THE GUIDELINES
7.The present Guidelines should be interpreted and implemented within the broad framework of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and in the context of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (The Beijing Rules), as well as other instruments and norms relating to the rights, interests and well-being of all children and young persons.
8.The present Guidelines should also be implemented in the context of the economic, social and cultural conditions prevailing in each Member State.
III. GENERAL PREVENTION
9.Comprehensive prevention plans should be instituted at every level of Government and include the following:
a)In-depth analyses of the problem and inventories of programmes, services, facilities and resources available;
b)Well-defined responsibilities for the qualified agencies, institutions and personnel involved in preventive efforts;
c)Mechanisms for the appropriate co-ordination of prevention efforts between governmental and non-governmental agencies;
d)Policies, programmes and strategies based on prognostic studies to be continuously monitored and carefully evaluated in the course of implementation;
e)Methods for effectively reducing the opportunity to commit delinquent acts;
f ) Community involvement through a wide range of services and programmes;
g)Close interdisciplinary co-operation between national, State, provincial and local governments, with the involvement of the private sector, representative citizens of the community to be served, and labour, child-care, health education, social, law enforcement and judicial agencies in taking concerted action to prevent juvenile delinquency and youth crime;
h)Youth participation in delinquency prevention policies and processes, including recourse to community resources, youth self-help, and victim compensation and assistance programmes;
i ) Specialized personnel at all levels.
IV. SOCIALIZATION PROCESSES
10.Emphasis should be placed on preventive policies facilitating the successful socialization and integration of all children and young persons, in particular through the family, the community, peer groups, schools, vocational training and the world of work, as well as through voluntary organizations. Due respect should be given to the proper personal development of children and young persons, and they should be accepted as full and equal partners in socialization and integration processes.
11.Every society should place a high priority on the needs and well-being of the family and of all its members.
12.Since the family is the central unit responsible for the primary socialization of children, governmental and social efforts to preserve the integrity of the family, including the extended family, should be pursued. The society has a responsibility to assist the family in providing care and protection and in ensuring the physical and mental well-being of children. Adequate arrangements including day-care should be provided.
13.Governments should establish policies that are conducive to the bringing up of children in stable and settled family environments. Families in need of assistance in the resolution of conditions of instability or conflict should be provided with requisite services.
14.Where a stable and settled family environment is lacking and when community efforts to assist parents in this regard have failed and the extended family cannot fulfil this role, alternative placements, including foster care and adoption, should be considered. Such placements should replicate, to the extent possible, a stable and settled family environment, while, at the same time, establishing a sense of permanency for children, thus avoiding problems associated with “foster drift”.
15.Special attention should be given to children of families affected by problems brought about by rapid and uneven economic, social and cultural change, in particular the children of indigenous, migrant and refugee families. As such changes may disrupt the social capacity of the family to secure the traditional rearing and nurturing of children, often as a result of role and culture conflict, innovative and socially constructive modalities for the socialization of children have to be designed.
16.Measures should be taken and programmes developed to provide families with the opportunity to learn about parental roles and obligations as regards child development and child care, promoting positive parent-child relationships, sensitizing parents to the problems of children and young persons and encouraging their involvement in family and community-based activities.
17.Governments should take measures to promote family cohesion and harmony and to discourage the separation of children from their parents, unless circumstances affecting the welfare and future of the child leave no viable alternative.
18.It is important to emphasize the socialization function of the family and extended family; it is also equally important to recognize the future role, responsibilities, participation and partnership of young persons in society.
19.In ensuring the right of the child to proper socialization, Governments and other agencies should rely on existing social and legal agencies, but, whenever traditional institutions and customs are no longer effective, they should also provide and allow for innovative measures.
20.Governments are under an obligation to make public education accessible to all young persons.
21.Education systems should, in addition to their academic and vocational training activities, devote particular attention to the following:
a)Teaching of basic values and developing respect for the child’s own cultural identity and patterns, for the social values of the country in which the child is living, for civilizations different from the child’s own and for human rights and fundamental freedoms;
b)Promotion and development of the personality, talents and mental and physical abilities of young people to their fullest potential;
c)Involvement of young persons as active and effective participants in, rather than mere objects of, the educational process;
d)Undertaking activities that foster a sense of identity with and of belonging to the school and the community;
e)Encouragement of young persons to understand and respect diverse views and opinions, as well as cultural and other differences;
f )Provision of information and guidance regarding vocational training, employment opportunities and career development;
g)Provision of positive emotional support to young persons and the avoidance of psychological maltreatment;
h)Avoidance of harsh disciplinary measures, particularly corporal punishment.
22.Educational systems should seek to work together with parents, community organizations and agencies concerned with the activities of young persons.
23.Young persons and their families should be informed about the law and their rights and responsibilities under the law, as well as the universal value system, including United Nations instruments.
24.Educational systems should extend particular care and attention to young persons who are at social risk. Specialized prevention programmes and educational materials, curricula, approaches and tools should be developed and fully utilized.
25.Special attention should be given to comprehensive policies and strategies for the prevention of alcohol, drug and other substance abuse by young persons. Teachers and other professionals should be equipped and trained to prevent and deal with these problems. Information on the use and abuse of drugs, including alcohol, should be made available to the student body.
26.Schools should serve as resource and referral centres for the provision of medical, counselling and other services to young persons, particularly those with special needs and suffering from abuse, neglect, victimization and exploitation.
27.Through a variety of educational programmes, teachers and other adults and the student body should be sensitized to the problems, needs and perceptions of young persons, particularly those belonging to underprivileged, disadvantaged, ethnic or other minority and low-income groups.
28.School systems should attempt to meet and promote the highest professional and educational standards with respect to curricula, teaching and learning methods and approaches, and the recruitment and training of qualified teachers. Regular monitoring and assessment of performance by the appropriate professional organizations and authorities should be ensured.
29.School systems should plan, develop and implement extracurricular activities of interest to young persons, in co-operation with community groups.
30.Special assistance should be given to children and young persons who find it difficult to comply with attendance codes, and to “drop-outs”.
31.Schools should promote policies and rules that are fair and just; students should be represented in bodies formulating school policy, including policy on discipline, and decision-making.
32.Community-based services and programmes which respond to the special needs, problems, interests and concerns of young persons and which offer appropriate counselling and guidance to young persons and their families should be developed, or strengthened where they exist.
33.Communities should provide, or strengthen where they exist, a wide range of community-based support measures for young persons, including community development centres, recreational facilities and services to respond to the special problems of children who are at social risk. In providing these helping measures, respect for individual rights should be ensured.
34.Special facilities should be set up to provide adequate shelter for young persons who are no longer able to live at home or who do not have homes to live in.
35.A range of services and helping measures should be provided to deal with the difficulties experienced by young persons in the transition to adulthood. Such services should include special programmes for young drug abusers which emphasize care, counselling, assistance and therapy-oriented interventions.
36.Voluntary organizations providing services for young persons should be given financial and other support by Governments and other institutions.
37.Youth organizations should be created or strengthened at the local level and given full participatory status in the management of community affairs. These organizations should encourage youth to organize collective and voluntary projects, particularly projects aimed at helping young persons in need of assistance.
38.Government agencies should take special responsibility and provide necessary services for homeless or street children; information about local facilities, accommodation, employment and other forms and sources of help should be made readily available to young persons.
39.A wide range of recreational facilities and services of particular interest to young persons should be established and made easily accessible to them.
D. Mass media
40.The mass media should be encouraged to ensure that young persons have access to information and material from a diversity of national and international sources.
41.The mass media should be encouraged to portray the positive contribution of young persons to society.
42.The mass media should be encouraged to disseminate information on the existence of services, facilities and opportunities for young persons in society.
43.The mass media generally, and the television and film media in particular, should be encouraged to minimize the level of pornography, drugs and violence portrayed and to display violence and exploitation disfavourably, as well as to avoid demeaning and degrading presentations, especially of children, women and interpersonal relations, and to promote egalitarian principles and roles.
44.The mass media should be aware of its extensive social role and responsibility, as well as its influence, in communications relating to youthful drug and alcohol abuse. It should use its power for drug abuse prevention by relaying consistent messages through a balanced approach. Effective drug awareness campaigns at all levels should be promoted.
V. SOCIAL POLICY
45.Government agencies should give high priority to plans and programmes for young persons and should provide sufficient funds and other resources for the effective delivery of services, facilities and staff for adequate medical and mental health care, nutrition, housing and other relevant services, including drug and alcohol abuse prevention and treatment, ensuring that such resources reach and actually benefit young persons.
46.The institutionalization of young persons should be a measure of last resort and for the minimum necessary period, and the best interests of the young person should be of paramount importance. Criteria authorizing formal intervention of this type should be strictly defined and limited to the following situations:
a)where the child or young person has suffered harm that has been inflicted by the parents or guardians;
b)where the child or young person has been sexually, physically or emotionally abused by the parents or guardians;
c)where the child or young person has been neglected, abandoned or exploited by the parents or guardians;
d)where the child or young person is threatened by physical or moral danger due to the behaviour of the parents or guardians; and
e)where a serious physical or psychological danger to the child or young person has manifested itself in his or her own behaviour and neither the parents, the guardians, the juvenile himself or herself nor non-residential community services can meet the danger by means other than institutionalization.
47.Government agencies should provide young persons with the opportunity of continuing in full-time education, funded by the State where parents or guardians are unable to support the young persons, and of receiving work experience.
48.Programmes to prevent delinquency should be planned and developed on the basis of reliable, scientific research findings, and periodically monitored, evaluated and adjusted accordingly.
49.Scientific information should be disseminated to the professional community and to the public at large about the sort of behaviour or situation which indicates or may result in physical and psychological victimization, harm and abuse, as well as exploitation, of young persons.
50.Generally, participation in plans and programmes should be voluntary. Young persons themselves should be involved in their formulation, development and implementation.
51.Government should begin or continue to explore, develop and implement policies, measures and strategies within and outside the criminal justice system to prevent domestic violence against and affecting young persons and to ensure fair treatment to these victims of domestic violence.
VI. Legislation and juvenile administration
52.Governments should enact and enforce specific laws and procedures to promote and protect the rights and well-being of all young persons.
53.Legislation preventing the victimization, abuse, exploitation and the use for criminal activities of children and young persons should be enacted and enforced.
54.No child or young person should be subjected to harsh or degrading correction or punishment measures at home, in schools or in any other institutions.
55.Legislation and enforcement aimed at restricting and controlling accessibility of weapons of any sort to children and young persons should be pursued.
56.In order to prevent further stigmatization, victimization and criminalization of young persons, legislation should be enacted to ensure that any conduct not considered an offence or not penalized if committed by an adult is not considered an offence and not penalized if committed by a young person.
57.Consideration should be given to the establishment of an office of ombudsman or similar independent organ, which would ensure that the status, rights and interests of young persons are upheld and that proper referral to available services is made. The ombudsman or other organ designated would also supervise the implementation of the Riyadh Guidelines, the Beijing Rules and the Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty. The ombudsman or other organ would, at regular intervals, publish a report on the progress made and on the difficulties encountered in the implementation of the instrument. Child advocacy services should also be established.
58.Law enforcement and other relevant personnel, of both sexes, should be trained to respond to the special needs of young persons and should be familiar with and use, to the maximum extent possible, programmes and referral possibilities for the diversion of young persons from the justice system.
59.Legislation should be enacted and strictly enforced to protect children and young persons from drug abuse and drug traffickers.
VII. Research, policy development and co-ordination
60.Efforts should be made and appropriate mechanisms established to promote, on both a multidisciplinary and an intradisciplinary basis, interaction and co-ordination between economic, social, education and health agencies and services, the justice system, youth, community and development agencies and other relevant institutions.
61.The exchange of information, experience and expertise gained through projects, programmes, practices and initiatives relating to youth crime, delinquency prevention and juvenile justice should be intensified at the national, regional and international levels.
62.Regional and international co-operation on matters of youth crime, delinquency prevention and juvenile justice involving practitioners, experts and decision makers should be further developed and strengthened.
63.Technical and scientific co-operation on practical and policy-related matters, particularly in training, pilot and demonstration projects, and on specific issues concerning the prevention of youth crime and juvenile delinquency should be strongly supported by all Governments, the United Nations system and other concerned organizations.
64.Collaboration should be encouraged in undertaking scientific research with respect to effective modalities for youth crime and juvenile delinquency prevention and the findings of such research should be widely disseminated and evaluated.
65.Appropriate United Nations bodies, institutes, agencies and offices should pursue close collaboration and co-ordination on various questions related to children juvenile justice and youth crime and juvenile delinquency prevention.
66.On the basis of the present Guidelines, the United Nations Secretariat, in co-operation with interested institutions, should play an active role in the conduct of research, scientific collaboration, the formulation of policy options and the review and monitoring of their implementation, and should serve as a source of reliable information on effective modalities for delinquency prevention.