IIJ Juvenile Justice Initiative: Online Sectoral Workshop for Detention Officials

Sep 04 2020
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On 1-4 September 2020, the IIJ convened the most recent in a series of sector-specific capacity-building workshops under the IIJ Juvenile Justice Initiative. The “Online Sectoral Workshop for Detention Officials” brought together 37 practitioners from fourteen countries across the Sahel, North Africa, East Africa and Southeast Asia. These participants included probation officers, rehabilitation and reintegration officers, social welfare officers, social workers, psychologists, investigators, defence counsel, and judges – practitioners working on the frontline of juvenile detention in terrorism cases.

The main objective of the workshop was to build the capacity of these practitioners to use and promote effective practices to protect the rights and ensure the best interests of the child as a primary consideration in terrorism cases involving juveniles. The training highlighted the content of the IIJ Detention Officials’ Juvenile Justice Practitioners’ Note (IIJ Detention Officials’ Note), which supports the implementation and operationalisation of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) Neuchâtel Memorandum on Good Practices for Juvenile Justice in a Counterterrorism Context (hereafter Neuchâtel Memorandum).

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The practitioners were divided into two groups to facilitate more free flowing exchanges in different languages and across time zones.

During the course of the workshop’s dynamic exchanges, practitioners shared their approaches to fostering a child’s positive development while in custody and received training on juvenile brain development and its effects on judgment and decision-making. The practitioners discussed the principles of effective juvenile rehabilitation, how to develop trust-based relationships with children while they are in custody, and good practices to build strong and collaborative networks.

On reintegration, discussions centred on challenges presented by a child’s reintegration within a family. Practitioners shared real-life examples and practices from their respective jurisdictions, and considered circumstances in which reintegration within the family or community may not be in the best interests of the child.

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On 4 September 2020, the practitioners reconvened for a final plenary session on a multilingual platform. A fact-pattern exercise, drawing on the action points in the IIJ Detention Officials’ Note and the Neuchâtel Memorandum, generated robust exchanges of practices and perspectives.

The practitioners commended the IIJ for continuing to deliver on its capacity-building mission during the COVID-19 global health pandemic through its use of innovative online platforms. The IIJ was delighted to see such engagement from our practitioner participants and to hear that they found the training substantive and worthwhile.

Information on previous workshops in this series of sectorally-focused workshops can be found here: Prosecutors and Investigating Magistrates, Judges, Defence Counsels, Investigators.

For more information on this workshop or the IIJ Juvenile Justice Initiative, please contact IIJ Programme Manager Mr. Emerson Cachon.