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Deprivation of Liberty of Children in Light of International Human Rights Law and Standards


Deprivation of Liberty of Children in Light of International Human Rights Law and Standards


School of Human Rights Research
Volume 28
boek | verschenen | 1e editie
oktober 2008 | ISBN 978-9-05095-838-7 | xxx + 696 blz. | paperback

It is estimated that at least one million children are deprived of their liberty worldwide. Held at police stations, detained in prisons and detention centres, or placed in reform schools and other (closed) institutions, these children are often confronted with (gross) violations of their human rights. They are deprived of their liberty for obscure reasons; detained in inadequate and overcrowded facilities together with adults; denied family contact; and subjected to violence, abuse and neglect by staff or other inmates. Children deprived of their liberty are at risk of having their childhoods and future life opportunities wasted away.

This book provides a systematic and comprehensive study of the implications of International Human Rights Law and Standards for children deprived of their liberty. It addresses the legal requirements regarding arrest, detention and imprisonment of children set by international and regional human rights treaties, in particular the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and pays close attention to the role of children’s legal status. In light of this, the book subsequently assesses legislation from the Netherlands specifically drawn up to strengthen the legal status of children in Dutch youth institutions: the Youth Custodial Institutions Act (Beginselenwet justitiële jeugdinrichtingen).

This study offers specific guidance on the interpretation and implementation of relevant provisions of International Human Rights Law and Standards, particularly for academics; (inter)national governmental and non-governmental organizations; (inter)national courts, legislators and competent authorities; institutions; lawyers; and others working with or for children deprived of their liberty. Its detailed recommendations clarify important steps towards the realization of the rights of children deprived of their liberty around the world.

About this book

“Liefaard’s magisterial work manages to be both a comprehensive, academic study of the mandates of international human rights law for children deprived of their liberty and – simultaneously – a savage indictment of most of the world’s failure to hear the cries of children behind bars or recognize the consequences of our denial of their full humanity.”
Bernardine Dohrn - Associate Clinical Professor - Northwestern University School of Law

“During the past decades a lot of efforts have been undertaken to limit deprivation of liberty and to protect persons deprived of liberty against abuse and exploitation inter alia through specific provisions in International Human Rights Law and the establishment of international standards. This book provides a so far unique compilation and comprehensive analysis of these provisions and standards as far as relevant for children. It results in an elaborated list of recommended actions not only for preventing and avoiding deprivation of liberty but also for the protection of children subject to it. (…) The book is an important tool for understanding the various aspects of deprivation of liberty of children and a guidance for legislators, policy makers and practitioners in their efforts to ensure that children are deprived of their liberty only when necessary and as short as possible, and are well protected in full compliance with the CRC. May it be used by many.”
Prof. Jaap E. Doek - Chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child 2001-2007

‘Liefaard has made an important contribution to children’s rights. All too often, children’s rights are studied rather superficially (if at all), and disconnected from the general human rights framework. Liefaard has avoided both pitfalls: he has produced a fairly comprehensive and in-depth study of the topic, and has managed to integrate and contextualise specific children’s rights provisions into the overall human rights law framework. Moreover, he offers a sophisticated integrated picture of all relevant international norms, regardless of their hard or soft nature.’
Wouter Vandenhole in NQHR (2010) 483
Onderstaande bestanden bevatten actualiseringen en/of aanvullend lesmateriaal. Docenten die het boek als verplichte cursus voorschrijven aan hun studenten, kunnen voor het aanvullend lesmateriaal contact opnemen met Liesbet Van de Velde (

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