Protecting the rights of children
in contact with the law in Brazil
Through this initiative ChildHope and Projeto Legal seek to promote and defend the rights of marginalized children and young people in Rio de Janeiro who have committed (or are accused of committing) criminal offences and who are undergoing socio-educational measures within or outside detention centres.
Main activities of the project include:
- Encouraging current and past young offenders and their families to learn about their rights, seek and receive legal advice, and participate in promoting these rights.
- Taking action in cases where children and young people have been victimised by law
- Strengthening ‘Conselhos Tutelares’ (Custody Councils) capacity to safeguard young
offenders rights by providing them with the necessary tools and support according
to their specific needs.
- Reinforcing the roles and responsibilities of the Judiciary, governmental and
non-governmental institutions in connection to the protection of young offenders’ rights.
- Increasing and strengthening cooperation between governmental and non-governmental
actors involved in the protection of young people in contact or conflict with the law.
- Raising awareness and improving media and civil society’s understanding of the situation
of young offenders, including disabled and HIV+ offenders.
- Influencing policies and practices related to the implementation of
socio-educational/pedagogic measures in detention and on parole, and the right
to fair treatment in detention and within the whole justice system.
Challenges and Lessons Learnt
- Inter-sectoral partnerships are important in order for change to happen in both policy and
practice and for this change to be sustainable at the local level.
- Working with the families of young offenders is an essential part of their successful
reintegration to or “reconciliation” with society.
- One of the biggest challenges is changing attitudes towards young offenders and raising
awareness as to the factors that push children into criminal and violent activities. Working
with the media to change how it portrays young offenders is key to helping change