Unicef to PH Congress: Strengthen Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act
MANILA, Philippines — The United Nations’ Children’s Fund (Unicef) urged Congress to strengthen Republic Act (RA) 9344 or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act as the Senate will debate to lower the minimum age of criminal liability on Monday.
“Do not to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility,” Unicef said in a statement. “Congress must support the full implementation the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act.”
Unicef said that on the 13th anniversary of the Juvenile Justice Act, it reminded the people that “all children must be treated with dignity and accorded their inalienable rights with utmost respect and protection.”
According to RA 9344, it promotes a child-friendly justice system focused on rehabilitation and restoration rather than punishment.
“The law makes it clear – without a doubt – that there is a need for a separate juvenile justice system where detention is the last resort,” Unicef said. “The erring child must be rehabilitated and reintegrated into society if the child must take responsibility for his or her action and mend the broken relationship with the community and the victim.”
It also pointed out that lowering the minimum age of criminal liability is not the answer, saying: “ putting children in prison or detaining them will only cause more harm to the child and to the community.”
“We call on the government to work with child rights defenders and strengthen the juvenile justice system for the sake of all Filipino children,” Unicef said. (Editor: Mike U. Frialde)
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