Executive Regulation of Juvenile Care Law Workshop [Archives:2000/26/Health]

June 26 2000

Under the motto “For the Development of the Legislative Structure and Social Programs for Outlaw Children”, the Ministry of Insurance and Social Affairs in collaboration with UNICEF, Sana’a office, organized a workshop for discussing the Executive Regulation of Juvenile care law and development of the related social care programs which it held during 17-18 June 2000. Ismail Al-Ghabri of Yemen Times attended the workshop and prepared the following report:
The Objectives of the Workshop:
1) Discussing the executive regulation draft of the juveniles care law in accordance with discussing the proposals presented by the government institutions and NGO organizations concerned with juvenile issues.
2) Ensuring that children should have a legal representation when facing some cases. Besides, they should be dealt with and taken care of properly.
3) Informing the participants in the workshop about the lawful procedures that should be followed when dealing with juveniles.
4) Creating an awareness and attracting the attention of all to this oppressed section of the society.
Summary of a study of some cases of children violating the law:
Despite the commendable efforts exerted by the government to improve the situation of Yemeni children, some are still in need of more and more facilities. According to international and official statistics, the Yemeni child is suffering from horrible economic and social circumstances.
Children violating the law are the most deserving cases to be helped and taken care of as they are considered to be victims of the ignorance of the society and its inefficiencyin performing its duty properly. Despite the awareness of the importance of protecting the rights of these children in Yemeni law, we find that their basic rights are violated in real life, mainly due to the non-existence of organizations that are concerned about these children’s rights. This phenomenon has actually risen in the last few years.
Basically the study assessed the size of this phenomenon, its prevalence in small administrative units, the kind of crimes committed by children and grasping the demographic and economic features of children violating the law. It also aims at studying the nature of procedures conducted when arresting these children, the environment of prisons, detailing prisons and their scope to meet the childrens’ basic health, educational and qualifying demands and psychological security. The study also aimed at proposing a primary mechanism that will help decrease the prevalence of this phenomenon.
Data has been collected from police stations in the following governorates: Secretariat, Ibb, Taiz, Hodaidah, Aden, Abyan and Sana’a. Besides there have also been field interviews with 140 children who are in prison aged between 7-18.
The following data was compiled during the study:
Children in Conflict with the law:
1) Entry:
Some indications for the miserable social situation of the Yemeni child:
a)The Economic Situation:
* Increasing the rate of working children to 3% during 1991-1994.
* Increasing the number of working children whose age are between 10-14 years old to 11% in 1994.
b)The Educational Situation:
* 54% of children at the age of 10-14 are illiterate.
* 63% of children at the age of 15-16 are illiterate.
* 76% of children at the age of six have not yet joined the first primary class.
* 45% of children of school age between (6-15 years old) have not yet joined school.
2) Categories of compiling data:
* Official statistics from the concerned departments.
* Field interviews with children in prisons and the role of social guidance in seven governorates.
3) Results:
a)The problem in light of the official statistics:
* In 1999, there were 421 children in prisons, 20 of whom were females.
* Classification according to the danger of the crime:
76% of these children were classified under murder, adultery, perversion and theft categories.
* Classification according to the kinds of crimes:
51% violent crimes
22.6% thefts
16.1% sex crimes
10.3% other crimes
* Sex crimes
58% crimes were that of homosexuality. The acted upon was kept in prison while the doer managed to escape punishment.
* Classification according to governorates:
The Secretariat, Ibb, Aden, Hodeidah, Abyan, Sana’a
* Classifying cases according to governorates:
Violence: Secretariat, Ibb, Taiz, Abyan, Sana’a.
Theft: Aden
Sex crimes: Hodeidah
* Classifying cases according to the small administrative units:
Secretariat (Nukum, Bab Al-Yemen)
Aden (Daar Sa’ad, Sheikh Othman)
4) Children in conflict with the law:
* Ages:
70% (15-18) years old.
30% (7 – 14) years old. ‘
*Educational Level:
40% illiterate.
29% still in primary school.
* Work
86% working different activities in streets.
5) Factors behind the child violating the law:
* Family structure
– 72% of the parents are still alive.
– 61% of these children are living with their families.
* Family atmosphere:
– 42% of fathers have married more than once.
– 22% of mothers have married more than once.
The family atmosphere is featured with continuous tensions and conflicts.
* Parents behavior:
– Strict violence to the extent of depriving them of lots of things.
– Inconsistency between the parents’ techniques in bringing up their children.
6) Official procedures of the Criminal Justice Bodies.
7) Prisons.
About the workshop, Dr. Mohammed Awad Ba Obaid, teacher of psychology in Sana’a University, said “The workshop aimed at discussing the executive board and program to develop social activity of juveniles care. We also discussed the children violating the law.
A survey that has been conducted in different governorates based on the official statistics was also discussed. The results of this study were as follows:
* Most cases of children violating the law are concentrated in the Secretariat.
* Cases vary from one governorate to another due to different cultural and demographic factors. For example, most cases recorded in the Secretariat and Ibb are that of violence. Most cases recorded in Aden were those of robbery. Most cases recorded in Hodeidah are of sex; homosexuality and adultery.
Other important issues that were dealt with in the workshop were to increase the minimum of criminal questioning of juveniles for the present laws consider that criminal questioning is from the age of seven which goes against children rights.
Some of the recommendations of the workshop are as follows:
1) Amending the juveniles law in accordance with the child’s human rights law and international agreement for human rights.
2) Training and qualifying a competent cadre in the social service field.
3) Creating juveniles police in which women should be included.
4) Establishing a national committee to defend childrens’ human rights when they are prosecuted.
5) Training a special cadre of specialists and social researchers.
6) Separating those who have received court sentences from those who are prone to perversion.
7) Establishing a separate department for females juveniles.
8) Activating the Ministry role to supervise and control the departments of juveniles care.
9) Establishing clubs and conducting cultural programs so as to save children from perversion.
10) Establishing an organized mechanism of cooperation and coordination between the different official and non governmental institutions.