As the world celebrates the Day of the African Child 2020, with a theme of “Access to a Child-Friendly Justice System in Africa,” Nigeria is facing a child rights crisis.
This week, experts in various fields will discuss these and other issues related to the need to develop a child-friendly justice system in Nigeria.
UNICEF’s Representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins, said about 800 participants and panelists would deliberate and develop strategies to address the challenge of ensuring that children can access a justice system that considers their special needs and their rights.
“Access to a child-friendly justice system is essential for protecting children’s rights and addressing violence against children. “
“Without access to a child-friendly justice system, children’s rights will remain elusive – and as a society, we cannot serve the best interests of children, especially in the face of violations of their rights.”
More than 36,000 child victims of violence, including 5,693 survivors of sexual violence (16 percent), were identified and documented in seven states of Nigeria since 2017.
But very few of those cases made it to the courtrooms, let alone resulted in justice for child victims.
At the same time, the number of children awaiting trial for what are often petty crimes is estimated to be more than 1,000 – with children often held in detention with adults and in conditions that no child should live in.