Justice for Children held a breakfast meeting on the Draft Child Justice Bill. The dialogue was attended by various stakeholders which included representatives and specialists from the child rights sector, Government, Junior Members of Parliament and the media.
In June 2019, the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs released a “layman’s draft” of the Child Justice Bill to stakeholders and proceeded to conduct stakeholder consultations in Bulawayo and Harare. The draft Bill is yet to be gazetted, meaning it remains in draft form. The Bill seeks to establish a distinct criminal justice system for children who are in conflict with the law, so that due protections accorded to children by the Constitution are observed. JCT as a child justice-focused institution takes particular interest in the Bill, with a view to ensure that the end product that is passed addresses concerns emanating from present practices and gaps in the existing framework. For that reason, JCT conducted an analysis of the draft Bill, identifying both retained and newly introduced aspects, as well as gaps in the draft Bill. On the basis of the analysis conducted by JCT, the organisation hosted a breakfast dialogue on the 30th of October 2019 to discuss the new additions proposed by the Bill, as well as gaps that need to be addressed.
Through consultations and input from the various stakeholders who attended the breakfast dialogue a position paper will be developed and submitted to the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, as well as other relevant bodies once the Bill is gazetted, for consideration.