THE Justice Department’s law and justice sector has been asked to look into issues that are affecting children.
Unicef country representative Bertrand Desmoulins said this on Wednesday during the sector’s governance forum in Port Moresby.
Mr Desmoulins explianed the importance of applying child-focused governance principles to the existing governance framework.
He provided a number of recommendations to be adopted by the sector to strengthen its overall governance- monitoring and evaluation framework.
He said the delivery of law and justice services would not be successful if they did not target 50% of the population, who were children.
“Most violence occur within families, many children report experiencing violence at the hands of government officials and other leaders in positions of authority.
“Disturbingly, one in two children report that they feel unsafe in their communities at night,” Mr Desmoulins said.
He said that children had a stake in the law and justice service delivery and had equal rights as adults to demand justice.
“They could be victims who have a right to demand safety and justice or they could be offenders who require support to take responsibility for their behaviour and restore thesituation after the harm they may have caused.
“They should be helped in such circumstances.”
Mr Desmoulins said it was important to understand that PNG’s development and the delivery of law and justice services for children were inextricably linked.
“Children who live in unsafe communities, particularly girls, have difficulties accessing schools to have basic education.
“Children who live in violent homes learn to accept that as normal and grow up to use violence as their primary strategy of solving conflicts.
“Children who have no contact with the Government as they grow up don’t see the Government as important or legitimate when they are adults,” he said.
Mr Desmoulins said Unicef was proud to have been involved in supporting the inter-agency national juvenile justice working committee’s effort to reform the juvenile justice system – an initiative which was recognised as one of the sector’s successes.
“Unicef has experience from all over the world in supporting the development of justice systems that take children into account,” he said.
“We stand ready to continue our support here in Papua New Guinea.”