Brazil's juvenile detention centres failing to meet basic standards of health and hygiene

EMBARGO: 00:01H (London time) Friday February 24, 2006. In North America the embargo lifts at 18:30H ET Thursday February 23, 2006.

Many of Brazil's juvenile detention centres are decaying, filthy, and dangerously overcrowded, state the authors of an essay in this week's issue of The Lancet.

The essay forms one of seven that focus on children's rights and the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC). It is more than 16 years since the UN advanced the cause of children by launching the CRC. However, many countries are not enforcing the convention effectively. The essays in this week's issue look at articles in the CRC covering implementation, participation, discrimination, child protection, the role of children's commissioners, children in custody, children in emergencies and disasters, and children in communities affected by AIDS.

In their essay 'Children in custody in Brazil', Michael Bochenek and Fernando Delgado of Human Rights Watch, state that 15 years after Brazil adopted one of Latin America's most progressive juvenile justice laws, substantially reflecting the guarantees contained in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the country's juvenile detention system continues to be grossly deficient. The authors state that overcrowded and unhygienic conditions are a source of tension among the detainees and allow for the spread of scabies and other contagious diseases. And the lack of effective oversight mechanisms allows cruel and degrading treatment to continue.

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Contact: Michael Bochenek and Fernando Delgado Human Rights Watch T)+1 802 238 8343


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