OSCE works to promote child-friendly justice in Armenia

Ensuring better co-ordination and collaboration among different state and non-state agencies dealing with juvenile offenders was the main objective of an OSCE-supported roundtable discussion held today in Yerevan.

This is the final discussion in a series organized during May-July 2014 in all Armenian regions by the Children’s Support Centre with help from the OSCE Office in Yerevan. The event is part of a bigger project aiming to create a comprehensive Resource Manual through mapping all social services in Armenia provided to juvenile offenders, and promoting closer working arrangements between all those engaged in this field.

“The OSCE promotes child-friendly justice standards and crime prevention and in this context, protection of the child’s interest is essential,” said Maria Silvanyan, National Legal Adviser at the OSCE Office in Yerevan. “I believe the discussions among key partners in this field will help to mobilize and utilize the existing resources and will be another step in improving the situation.”

The roundtable discussions gathered representatives of local police, schools, Committees on Trusteeship and Guardianship, Child Protection Units and non-governmental organizations with the aim of sharing information and finding common solutions to juveniles’ needs.

The OSCE’s partner in the project, the Children’s Support Centre of the Fund for Armenian Relief, works in crisis intervention and short-term rehabilitation for children and families where they are provided with access to shelter, counselling, outreach services, healthcare and legal assistance.

Mira Antonyan, the Executive Director of the Children’s Support Centre, said: “Since 1999 our organization has been in a special arrangement with the Armenian Police to work together for the best interest of the child with a particular focus on childhood delinquency. Children have the right to physical and psychological safety, and all of us – individuals, communities and governments – have an obligation to protect them.”

This discussion is part of the OSCE Office in Yerevan’s work to promote the role of civil society organizations and state agencies in protecting the rights of children.

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