Maputo - Friday, May 15 at 10.30 am, nr. 4 urban district, District Albasine. The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), after a long process of rehabilitating the structures, has opened the first Observation Centre and Juvenile Rehabilitation Center in Maputo - Mozambique - on 15th May, 2009. The opening of the Observation and Juvenile Rehabilitation Centers is a result of the programme Strengthening of Juvenile Justice in Mozambique, funded by the Italian Government and carried out from UNICRI. The implementation of the programme and its results have been possible thanks to the agreement signed by UNICRI, executing agency, the Ministry of Justice of Mozambique, partner and beneficiary country, and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, donor of the programme. The programme began in 2005 with the aim of improving the lives of young Mozambicans - in particular of minors at risk or in conflict with the law. The opening ceremony of the Observation and Juvenile Rehabilitation Centers have been attended by many authorities: Her Excellency the Minister of Justice of Mozambique Ms. Benvinda Levi; His Excellency the Ambassador of Italy Mr. Carlo Lo Cascio; Mr. Ndolamb Ngokwey, UN Resident Coordinator in Mozambique; Ms. Andrea Rachele Fiore, UNICRI programme coordinator, authorities of the city of Maputo, judges and magistrates of the Court of Minors, most of the Ambassadors in Mozambique, officials of UN agencies operating in Mozambique, NGOs, among others. The first Observation and Juvenile Rehabilitation Centers will allow children under the age of 16 who commit offences (as established by the new legislative package approved on July 2008) to be assisted by social operators, teachers and psychologists in a competent and professional environment. The aim of the establishment of these Centers is to rehabilitate minors through education, psychological guidance and vocational training to ensure their self-sustainability and a proper reintegration into society once completing the rehabilitation cycle. The Centres of Chiango will be able to accommodate 200 children of both sexes in infrastructures comprising of dormitories, classrooms, recreational areas, training laboratories (tailoring, handicrafts and shoes making), kitchen and a health centre. The equipment of the centers of Chiango has been possible thanks to the support of the Italian Department of Juvenile Justice, which organized an international donation comprising of clothing for children, furniture and cars; and CMC which contributed to the value by sending the containers of the donation from Italy to Maputo as well as providing transportation in bringing the donation to Chiango. UNICRI also helped in the acquisition of the equipment and materials for an amount of U.S. $ 25.000.00 and donating the existing equipment in its office in Maputo with a total value of U.S. $ 100,000.00. The opening of the first Observation and Juvenile Rehabilitation Centers for minors in conflict with the law is fundamental in order to achieve the principles formulated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, such as the need for special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection for children, due to their physical and mental immaturity. Mozambique has initiated a process of compliance with international conventions, supporting competent authorities and promoting capacity building of institutions dealing with minors. Within the new legislative package on the reform of the juvenile justice system, the judge of the Tribunal for Minors, before applying the most appropriate measures, might order a mandatory period of observation in the Observation Centre for the definition of the personality and temperament of the minor, investigate on the conditions of the family as well as the social environment where the minor lives. The observation period will then enable the judge to draw conclusions for the adoption of the most appropriate measure to apply for the minor. Among the measures of crime prevention, the confinement in the new Juvenile Rehabilitation Centre is the measure applicable only to those minors with serious socio-familiar deviation, violent behavior or for committing particular severe offences. "The opening of the Observation and Juvenile Rehabilitation Centers of Chiango for minors in conflict with the law will allow the reintegration of the child avoiding that tomorrow the minor will be abandoned by the community. Minors are not criminals, they need care and education so that tomorrow will become responsible citizens" says Ms. Andrea Rachele Fiore, coordinator of the UNICRI programme.
While explaining the laboratories; from left: Ms. Andrea Rachele Fiore, UNICRI Programme Coordinator, H.E. Carlo Lo Cascio, Italian Ambassador in Mozambique, Mr. Ndolamb Ngokwey, UN Resident Coordinator of Mozambique, H.E. Benvinda Levi, Minister of Justice, Mr. Samo Gonçalves, Focal Point of the Ministry of Justice for the UNICRI Programme, Mr. Zenafrino Zandamela, Director of SNAPRI.