by Hon. Alastair Nicholson
Asian Jurist, October 2018
(reproduced with permission)
Out of a history of occupation, conflict and genocide has emerged a renewed and concerted effort to create a more just future for Cambodia’s children.
"The treatment of children in prison has long been unsatisfactory. In many prisons, children are still mixed with adult offenders and receive little or no health care and education ... Many children see their lawyer for the first time on the day of trial."
"The new Juvenile Justice Law is enlightened and innovative ... It also represents an enormous challenge to the Cambodian justice system, which has hitherto been punishment-oriented."
See: The Fight for Children's Rights in Cambodia (PDF - Full Text of this Article)
Article 6 in the convention: Children have the right to live a full life. Governments should ensure that children survive and develop healthily.
Article 9 in the convention: Children should not be separated from their parents unless it is for their own good. For example, if a parent is mistreating or neglecting a child. Children whose parents have separated have the right to stay in contact with both parents, unless this might harm the child.
The idea for this series originated at a meeting of the board of Children’s Rights International (CRI; www.childjustice.org), of which I am a member and which is chaired by former Chief Justice of the Family Court, The Hon. Alastair Nicholson AO RFD QC. There are two other former judges on the board, some additional lawyers and several members from other professions. We wanted to establish a forum where members of the medical and legal professions would come together to discuss children’s rights and to explore the many areas in which the interests of the two professions overlap. To provide structure, we proposed that we would base the meetings on the various clauses of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Our aim was to educate and stimulate discussion in a scholarly atmosphere, assisted by respected, well-informed speakers. It flowed naturally that CRI would invite the RCH Alumni to collaborate in hosting the series, and that meetings would then alternate between RCH, where the Alumni would be hosts and the University of Melbourne Law School, where CRI would be the host organisation. We further invited Dr Linny Phuong, Founder and Chair of the Water Well Project and a Fellow in Infectious Diseases at RCH, to be a member of the organising committee because of her extensive connections with young doctors.
A seminar on Medico Legal aspects of Australia’s Asylum Seeker Policies in light of Australia's obligations under relevant international instruments including the Refugee Convention and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Held on Tuesday 19th June 2018 6:00 - 7:30pm
Room GO8, Law School, University of Melbourne,
185 Pelham St, Carlton VIC 3053
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter” Martin Luther King Jr.
Forum & Discussion sponsored by ‘concerned Australians’ cA
Date: Thursday 29th June 2017
Time: 2.45 for 3.00pm – 5.45pm
Venue: RMIT Building 80, 4th Level, Room 11 (Yellow Door) 445 Swanston St, Melbourne - Directions here or Tram stop (route 64, stop 7)
CRI’s decade long commitment to juvenile justice issues in Cambodia has received significant recognition with the passage of that country’s Juvenile Justice Law (JJL) in July 2016, followed by measures currently being undertaken to ensure its effective implementation.
Cambodia ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC) in 1992, but has always had great difficulty in adhering to its requirements, particularly in relation to young people who come into conflict with the law in that country. For example, two major requirements under article 37 of the Convention (1) that detention of juveniles should be a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time and that (2) children deprived of their liberty should be separated from adults, have been virtually impossible to fulfil in the Cambodian context. As a result, many young offenders who have committed minor offences are currently tried and penalised as adults, and the rate of incarceration of young people is disturbingly high.