UNICRI, Maputo: The first criminal prevention section of the Tribunal for Minors in Maputo, Mozambique opened on 18 February 2009. This result is a milestone for the Country in the field of minors’ rights.
The opening of the criminal prevention section is one of the achievements of the programme implemented by UNICRI, a United Nations Applied Research Programme dealing with crime prevention and justice. The UNICRI programme Strengthening Juvenile Justice in Mozambique started in 2005 with the aim to improve the life conditions of Mozambican juveniles and in particular of minors at risk, or in conflict with law.
After 3 years of work UNICRI, with the support of Italian General Directorate for Cooperation and Development (DGCS), organized the opening ceremony of the criminal prevention section for juvenile. The implementation of the programme and its results have been made possible thanks to the agreement between UNICRI, the Ministry of Justice of Mozambique and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The new criminal prevention section of the Tribunal for Minors
The Programme promotes the rights of minors in conflict with the law by enhancing the operational capacities of relevant institutions and grass-root organizations while strengthening juvenile justice mainly in the Province of Maputo. Activities included, inter alia, professional training courses for juvenile justice personnel and police officers; publication of manuals on juvenile justice, establishment of a community services network dealing with minors in conflict with the law; information and awareness campaigns, vocational training and work placements for adolescents in conflict with the law.
The opening ceremony of the criminal prevention section has been attended by authorities including Her Excellency, Dr. Benvinda Levi - Ministry of Justice of Mozambique, His Excellency, Dr. Carlo Lo Cascio – Italian Ambassador, His Excellency, Dr. Mario Mangaze - Head of the Supreme Court, Her Excellency, Dr. Claudina Maquáqua – President of the Tribunal for Minors of Maputo, authorities from the city of Maputo, judges and prosecutors from the Juvenile Court, Ambassadors and officers of United Nations agencies operating in Mozambique, NGOs, etc.
During the Opening Ceremony (from left: Mr. Ndolamb Ngokwey, UN Resident Coordinator of Mozambique, Mr. Mário Bartolomeu Fumo Mangaze, President of the Supreme Court of Mozambique, Excellency Maria Benvinda Levi, Minister of Justice of Mozambique, Excellency Carlo Lo Cascio, Ambassador of Italy in Mozambique, Ms. Andrea Rachele Fiore, UNICRI Programme Coordinator, Ms. Claudina Macuácua, President of the Tribunal for Minors, Mr. Samo Paulo Gonçalves Focal Point Ministry of Justice for the UNICRI Programme)
Toast during the celebration of the opening of the criminal prevention section of the Tribunal Minors (from left: Mr. Mário Bartolomeu Fumo Mangaze, President of the Supreme Court of Mozambique, Ms. Andrea Rachele Fiore, UNICRI Programme Coordinator, Excellency Maria Benvinda Levi, Minister of Justice of Mozambique, Excellency Carlo Lo Cascio, Ambassador of Italy in Mozambique)
According to UNICRI Director, Mr. Sandro Calvani, “There is no better investment for a country as putting the best interest of the child into primary consideration. Putting children and youth on the top of a country’s agenda means to guarantee the best present and the future for the country itself”.
The UNICRI programme implemented in Mozambique supported various institutions and organizations of the Mozambican civil society engaged in the field of juvenile justice to act in the fulfillment of children’s rights within International Conventions.
The establishment of the criminal prevention section of the Tribunal for Minors is an essential first step to achieve the fundamental principles formulated in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child such as the need of special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection to children, by reason of his or her physical and mental immaturity. Mozambique is strengthening the fulfillment of the international conventions by promoting authorities and institutions for children.
“As a result of the cooperation between UNICRI, the Government of Mozambique and the Government of Italy, we hope that life conditions of the Mozambican juvenile population will be enhanced, while affirming children’s rights and strengthening capacity building of institutions and communities operating with children in conflict with the law” said Mr. Sandro Calvani.