Unicef and EU Collaborate to Promote Child-Friendly Justice in Sokoto State

The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and the European Union (EU) have joined forces to promote child-friendly justice in Sokoto State by commencing a two-day training workshop for Sharia court judges, police, and Hisbah group.

The workshop aims to ensure access to justice for children below the age of 18 who come in contact with the law in the state, whether as offenders, witnesses, or victims.

The workshop, which began on Tuesday, focuses on the training of Sharia court judges in child justice administration, particularly for children who come in contact with the law, in accordance with the provisions of the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The training also covers the Child Protection Law of Sokoto State and the Child Rights Act, ensuring that the rights of children are protected in alignment with the African Charter on Child Rights and Welfare.

Associate Professor of Law and Dean of the Faculty of Law at North East University Gombe, Prof. Umar Alkali, highlighted the importance of the workshop, stating that vulnerable children often face challenges in accessing child-friendly justice and are at risk of being subjected to pre-trial detention, which is against child rights standards.

In some cases, these children are even incarcerated with adults, exposing them to violence and psychological harm.

Hon. Khadi Dahiru Dan Jega, a participant in the workshop, emphasized that the new law is not in conflict with Islamic law, norms, or culture.

He believes that the law will improve the relationship between children and the courts, ensuring that their rights are protected.

Chief Wali of the state Sharia court, Abdulazeez Mohammed Yar Abba, expressed confidence in the new law, noting that it will help address issues related to child rights and justice in the state.

He pointed out that Sharia courts in Sokoto State have never criminalized minors under the age of 18, and the new law will serve as a reminder to carefully observe all provisions enshrined in the Child Protection Act.

The collaboration between Unicef and the EU in promoting child-friendly justice in Sokoto State is a significant step towards ensuring that children in the region have access to justice and the protection of their rights, in line with international and regional standards.

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