Juvenile Justice in the Philippines

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Marianne Murdoch-Verwijs, LLM (Free University, Amsterdam) BACKGROUND ON JUVENILE CRIME AND THE LEGAL SITUATION IN THE PHILIPPINES IN THE EARLY 1990s The problems of street children and juvenile delinquents are much related social problems. To survive in the street you almost have to become delinquent. Exposed to criminal elements these children are vulnerable to prostitution, drug addiction and pushing and commission of crimes. Most street children have become juvenile delinquents either out of necessity (because they are poor) or through force (because of the syndicates). Young people in the streets are also criminalized and stigmatized for no obvious crime
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There were 72 provincial jails, one for every province, in the country. There are 60 city jails and 1,506 municipal jails all over the country. The conditions in these jails and rehabilitation centres were deplorable. The worst one was the rehabilitation centre named the Molave Youth Center. According to PAHRA (2), the Molave Youth Home suffered from a 67% rate of congestion. Its ideal capacity was only 100 yet an average of 167 offenders was being housed there. MY CALL TO ACTION Many rights of the youth were not adequately protected by the State, although the Philippines had signed all the International Treaties concerning children’s rights including: - UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which had been ratified in the Philippines on July 1990 and become effective on September 2 1990 - Beijing Rules - The Riyadh Guidelines - The United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty. The following were some examples of rights infringed by the State of the Philippines: - The criminal justice system provides inadequate rehabilitation and mostly punishes criminal behaviour of youth. However the international treaties, for which the Philippines was a signatory, put emphasis on the fact that children should not be detained in jails and in exceptional cases, if they are detained, then only for a very short time. Because of lack of funds there are still not enough programs for education,
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