The African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) concluded on 30 January 2013 a two-day workshop on restorative justice for juvenile offenders in Zalingei, Central Darfur. The workshop, which was attended by more than 32 participants, including teachers, police officers, civil servants and members of the civil society, was part of the efforts of the UNAMID's Human Rights Section to strengthen the capacity of the juvenile justice system players in applying restorative justice standards more effectively when dealing with children and young people in conflict with the law.
Restorative justice refers to a process for resolving crime by focusing on redressing the harm done to the victims, holding offenders accountable for their actions and, often, engaging the community in the resolution of that conflict. The participation of the parties is an essential part of the process that emphasizes relationship building, reconciliation and the development of agreements around a desired outcome between victims and offenders.
The participants of the workshop discussed issues related to the over-use of detention, particularly pre-trial detention, lack of community-based alternatives to justice system, including appropriate diversion mechanisms, and alternatives to detention, care and protection systems. Also, they mentioned the lack of effective juvenile justice systems, particularly appropriate rehabilitation facilities and required segregation in favor of children in conflict with the law.
"It is important to note that Sudan has taken some measures to improve the national juvenile justice system including the ratification of the Child Act 2010. The establishment of family and child protection units, as well as the Child Court, can be considered in this context", said Mr. Badar Farrukh, Team Leader of UNAMID's Human Rights Section in Zalingei at the opening session of the workshop.