The First ASEAN Conference on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice recently took place in Bangkok, Thailand.
The Conference, “Enhancing crime prevention and criminal justice institutions for sustainable development of the ASEAN Community”, hosted by the Institute of Justice, was the first of its kind in the ASEAN region.
It brought together policy makers, practitioners, academics and other stakeholders from the ASEAN countries and the international community, including the members the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme Network of Institutes to an evidence-based policy dialogue aimed at enhancing crime prevention and criminal justice institutions in the ASEAN region.
The three main topics of the conference were
- Crime prevention strategies aimed at children and youth in urban areas
- Effective offender rehabilitation and prison reform for vulnerable groups
- Tackling the emerging threats of wildlife and timber trafficking in ASEAN
At the conference, Ms. Aisyah Yuliani, programme officer at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute’s office in Jakarta, presented a paper providing an overview of the status of juvenile justice in ASEAN region, with recommendations on how to enhance the protection of children in conflict with the law in the ASEAN region.
Yuliani says “approximately 16,000 children in the ASEAN region are detained on an annual basis, either on remand of after final sentence and often in institutions where they are not separated from adults. However as there is a shortage of reliable data it is difficult to assess the total number of children in custody in the ASEAN region today.”
Diversion is an important measure for keeping children outside the penal institutions and is today used by seven of the ten ASEAN countries. However, in order for diversion to be effective it has to include rehabilitative measures in the best interest of the child.
“It’s important to review how funds are allocated for the administration of juvenile justice and that use of restorative justice often could provide more value for money than a more traditional approach to dealing with juvenile offenders,” she says.
In line with this, RWI will within the framework of its cooperation with UNICEF in Indonesia, carry out a cost-efficiency study as regards the administration of juvenile justice in Indonesia.
The network members, including RWI, represented by Mikael Johansson, senior policy advisor on anti-corruption and Human Rights and interim team leader of the Institute’s justice team, also contributed to the Conference’s Academic Forum by providing participants with an overview of how the members, individually or jointly, through its different activities and in partnership with national and regional actors in the ASEAN region can contribute to a sustainable ASEAN Community.