Thank you, President,
Norway would like to thank the panelists for their statements. We highly appreciate their insightful comments on the topic at hand, and their contributions to our common understanding of the main challenges and priorities.
Norway is particularly concerned about the seeming trend in many states of lowering the minimum age of criminal liability. We believe this represents a step backward in the work for children’s rights and for child-friendly criminal justice policies.
We also take this opportunity to reiterate our position on inhuman sentencing of children. The practice of applying the death penalty, life imprisonment or corporal punishment to children, is abominable, and should be abolished.
Another critical issue that confronts us is the lack of sufficient and free legal aid for children in judicial processes in many parts of the world. Measures should be introduced to increase the availability of such aid.
Norway would also like to underscore the importance of bringing all perpetrators of violence against children – in particular children deprived of liberty – to justice, in order to ensure that they are held accountable. This may require reform in existing national complaint mechanisms, in order to make them more child-friendly and accessible.
Finally, the role of civil society is critical. With regard to children in conflict with the law and deprived of liberty, it is important that civil society is allowed to carry out monitoring visits on a regular basis, without prior announcements and with unlimited access to all premises of the prison.
Thank you, President.