The Raoul Wallenberg Institute presented a report today that concludes that the number of juveniles below the age of 18 who are deprived of their liberty in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries could be reduced significantly if proper alternatives to criminal justice proceedings were applied to their fullest potential.
“A Measure of Last Resort? Juvenile Justice in ASEAN Member States” is the first study of its kind and was presented as part of the official programme of the 13th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Doha.
The report provides statistical and narrative overviews of the juvenile justice situation and systems in all ASEAN countries.
“While the report confirms that there is a rise in juvenile crime in the region, it also finds that a remarkably low number of juveniles are in contact with the formal criminal justice system,” said Christian Ranheim from RWI’s Jakarta office.
The study presents, for the first time, statistics on the juvenile justice situation in the region, which show that each year 70,000 children are charged with a criminal offence in ASEAN countries. This is far less than in other comparable parts of the world. While this may be due to underreporting of crimes, crime levels in South East Asia are known to be low. Furthermore, it is reported that at any time, 16,000 juveniles below the age of 18 are deprived of their liberty in the region.
“The study identifies a number of issues of common concern across member states, and RWI hopes that it may lead to new initiatives and dialogue that may in the future enhance the protection of children in conflict with the law in the ASEAN region,” says Ranheim.
The report has been financed by Swedish Development Cooperation, under RWI’s Regional Asia Programme, and carried out under the auspices of RWI’s office in Jakarta.