An official report warns of increased child crime rates [Archives:2004/759/Community]

August 29 2004

Mohammed bin Sallam
Following its field visits to state prisons and juvenile detention centers in Taiz, Hodiedah and Hajjah governorates, the parliament's civil liberties and human rights committee reported that there were 26 children at the juvenile home in Taiz. 14 of them were involved in murder cases and most of them were aged between 10 and 11 years old. The incidence of killing ranked top of the list of offences among the juvenile cases. This could be an alarming sign of the current trend in society. Many incidents of killing resulted from the misuse of arms, which serves as an indication of the seriousness of sustaining the current situation of the widespread possession of and bearing of arms. Not to mention the personal tragedies that many families end up suffering from or the insecurity and instability of society in general.
The committee reported that there was a single juvenile detention center in each of Taiz and Hodeidah governorates. Each center was adequately furnished. The home in Taiz was isolated from the central prison, but in Hodiedah not all juveniles were in the home that was rented by UNICEF Organization and which accommodates 30 juveniles. That was considered an achievement, however, the committee was not able to determine the exact situation in Hodiedah and Hajjah. The juveniles were not sorted out according to their ages and some of them were still detained pending the payment of due financial sum.
The Parliamentary Committee recommended establishing juvenile homes for female delinquents in Hodiedah and Hajjah Governorates and providing more facilities, health care services and suitable environments at all juvenile homes in order to better train, rehabilitate and educate them, so that they are able to resume normal lives when released back into society.
The Committee urged the related authorities to present an amendment law on juveniles and to present it to the Parliament for the necessary constitutional procedures. It called on the government to provide suitable education, emphasizing religious values that would prevent the children from becoming delinquents. It also called on the various media organizations to launch awareness campaign programs on the proper treatment of children, so as to raise them to be good citizens.