The UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty: The Role of Academia in ‘Making the Invisible and Forgotten Visible’

Manfred Nowak and Manu Krishan - Crime Prevention and Justice in 2030


This chapter summarises the detailed findings of the United Nations Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty and exemplifies the significant leading role of academia in ‘making the invisible and forgotten visible’ throughout the world. The main objectives of the study were to assess, based on scientific data, the magnitude of the global number of children deprived of liberty in six different situations, including in institutions, for migration related reasons and in the context of the administration of criminal justice. Another goal was to comprehend the root causes and pathways leading to deprivation of liberty as well as to gather best practices of states that have applied non-custodial solutions. The Study also addressed the conditions of detention by considering the personal views and experiences of children and it assessed justifications for and limits of deprivation of liberty of children in light of all relevant provisions of international law, above all the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Although the Global Study was prepared through a concerted effort of states, non-governmental organisations, professional bodies, UN agencies, treaty bodies, special procedures and children, each research group was led by a research institute and close collaboration with academia. The study exemplified how the close cooperation between the United Nations, civil society and academia is needed more than ever and it confirmed the spirit of the famous opening words of the UN Charter, namely that “the Peoples of the United Nations”, which founded the world organisation 75 years ago.