On Wednesday, 20 July 2016, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights launched a training workshop entitled “Juvenile Justice is Everyone’s Responsibility”, at Roots Restaurant in Gaza City. The attendance was made up of more than 62 relatives of juvenile offenders, lawyers, dispute mediators, and staff members of Al Rabee’ Organization for Juvenile Rehabilitation.
Rana Al Madhoun, lawyer at Al Mezan, welcomed the participants and described Al Mezan’s work and activities aimed at enhancing the culture of human rights in Gaza. She expressed her hope that the workshop would meet the participants’ expectations and contribute to the development of their knowledge of juvenile justice issues.
Lawyer Fadi Hamad, expert in juvenile justice, talked about criminal justice in international conventions and treaties related to children. He talked about the legal definition of juvenile, the legal protection provided in local laws and its compatibility with related international conventions. Mr. Hamad also talked about the legal instructions of the public prosecutor of 2006 in which he assigned juvenile law enforcement officer to detain, interrogate, and release juveniles in accordance with their rights guaranteed by law.
In the same context, Mr. Hamad divided the participants into groups and each group raised a problem that juvenile offenders’ families or lawyers faced during the detention process. Several legal questions and inquiries were raised and discussed.
Representative of Al Rabee’ organization stated that family breakdown leads to 70% of juvenile delinquency cases. Al Mezan stresses that the issues leading to and resulting from family breakdown are stemming from Israel’s closure and blockade of the Gaza Strip, and the unemployment, poverty and instability that the Israeli policy maintains.
Mr. Hamad noted that dispute mediators and jurisprudents have a responsibility to children who break the law. He talked about the most prominent violations being perpetrated by the police investigation department and public prosecution, according to his documentation.
At the end of the workshop the participants agreed on the need to raise awareness within the families of juvenile delinquents on how to psychologically and socially rehabilitate the young offenders and how to reintegrate them into society in order to enable them to lead full and productive lives.