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Justice for Children: in the Best Interest of the Child
Justice Renate Winter, Vice-President of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, spoke to experts in the field of justice at the Lawyer’s Training Center under the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Justice Renate Winter is visiting Uzbekistan to advocate for further implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. She addressed faculty members and civil judges and lawyers from all the regions of the country.
The lecture was centered on the observations and recommendations made by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child to Uzbekistan and strategies to address them. More specifically, Justice Renate Winter highlighted the importance of putting in place mechanisms to guarantee rights of children in armed conflicts and children who are victims of trafficking and child pornography. She also focused on developing the juvenile justice system to ensure the best interest of the child is always sought.
Justice Renate Winter explained the underlying principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: the best interest of the child, non-discrimination, right of the child to be heard and the right to life and development. “Justice System needs prosecutors, lawyers and judges to interpret the law in light of these principles, particularly in seeking the best interest of the child,” she said. Grounded in this discussion, the issue of juvenile justice was brought to the fore.
Justice Renate Winter highlighted the importance of improving and strengthening the system through specialization and training of prosecutors, lawyers, judges and social workers, and by increasing their collaboration. “This should lead to an approach which seeks to introduce diversionary measures and alternatives to deprivation of liberty such as community service, mediation, probation and counseling. These measures should ensure the best-interest of the child by giving him a voice, guaranteeing non-discrimination and ensuring his right to development,” she said.
During the concluding session, participants recognized that many issues were raised that require careful attention and thought. The Justice also urged all listeners to spread awareness to fellow lawyers, prosecutors and judges; and to gain better knowledge of the core principles to advance the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.