Date of announcement: 20th December
Datuk Dr. Chiam Heng Keng receives the ‘Juvenile Justice Without Borders’ International Award 2016
The International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO) has announced Datuk Dr. Chiam Heng Keng, Founding President of the Early Childhood Care and Education Council of Malaysia, among the recipients of the ‘Juvenile Justice Without Borders’ International Award in its 4th edition, 2016. This award, represented by a statuette of Lady Justice, recognises the work of professionals and organisations that contribute to the improvement of juvenile justice systems, and to the protection of the rights of children and youth throughout the world.
By celebrating these high achieving professionals and organisations, the IJJO hopes to encourage development in the field of juvenile justice by increasing awareness of the issues faced by children in contact with the law. In this way, the ‘Juvenile Justice Without Borders’ International Award shall increase solidarity among professionals and organisations, encouraging further dissemination of knowledge, good practices and successful policy experiences.
Introduced by the IJJO’s Chairman, Dr. Francisco Legaz Cervantes, each of the awardees have kindly produced inspiring acceptance speech videos. These videos, along with photos and more information about the awardees, can be found on the International Juvenile Justice Observatory’s website.
Datuk Dr. Chiam Heng Keng, Founding President of the Early Childhood Care and Education Council of Malaysia, and member of the ASEAN Commission for the Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (Malaysia), has been awarded for her outstanding work as a researcher in child psychology, facilitating the improvement of the Malaysian juvenile justice system; as well as for her commitment as a teacher in the transmission of values and respect for human rights, and her wisdom as an advisor for many national committees working for the rights of children.
Dr. Heng Keng stated in her acceptance speech that society should “look for the best in children, even children in conflict with the law, and help them develop and utilize their potential for their own being and that of the community and nation.”
For this 4th edition of the ‘Juvenile Justice Without Borders’ International Award, Datuk Dr. Chiam Heng Keng is among the following outstanding professionals and organisations also awarded:
Judge Emilio Calatayud (Spain), Juvenile Court Judge, has been awarded for his extensive experience in the application of juvenile legislation, consistently placing great value on an educational and socialising approach to the law, as well as for his work raising society’s awareness of specialised juvenile justice, adapted to the circumstances and needs of the child. Mr. Calatayud remarks in his acceptance speech the fact that “the foundation of juvenile justice lies in the education of the children, and if you do not believe in this reform or the possibility of change within a person, especially in the case of minors, what will you believe in?”
The Ministry of Justice and Law of Colombia, awarded for the work it carries out developing a comprehensive juvenile justice system, consistent with international standards on children’s rights, focused on the prevention of juvenile delinquency and the protection of the rights of children in situations of vulnerability; as well as for its work in the social reintegration of young people in conflict with the law. Mr. Jorge Eduardo Londoño Ulloa, Minister of Justice and Law, thanked the IJJO for this award: “The recognition provided by the IJJO is of singular importance to the Ministry of Justice and Law; it increases the visibility of the work we have been engaging in with respect to adolescent crime prevention and the promotion of restorative juvenile justice from a rights-based standpoint, in which we give priority to preventative actions aimed at overcoming the reactionary approach imposed by punitive populism.” Building upon the words of Mr. Londoño Ullaa, Mr. Carlos Medina Ramírez, Vice-Minister of Criminal Policy and Restorative Justice, stated that “this award represents an important recognition of the work that day by day is being carried out by our colleagues at the Criminal Policy Office in the field of juvenile justice in our country. The Ministry of Justice took on this significant challenge last year, coordinating the Juvenile System of Criminal Responsibility. It is important to emphasise that this award is truly a source of motivation for the Ministry of Justice for the challenges that lie ahead.”
Judge Sylvie Rousteau (France), Family Court Judge and former Juvenile Court Judge, has been awarded for her commitment and contribution, for more than 20 years, to the improvement of the French juvenile justice system, from her work as judge of the juvenile court, to her dedication to the protection of children and young people at risk; especially her professional and personal involvement in the generation of shared knowledge as a basis on which to continue advancing the improvement of systems and policies that affect children and youth. In Ms. Rousteau’s own words, “we shall never forget that within the concept of a’ juvenile offender’ or ‘in conflict with the law’, there’s ‘juvenile’!”
Professor Ann Skelton (South Africa), Director of the Centre for Child Law at the University of Pretoria, UNESCO Chair in Education Law, and member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, has been awarded for her extensive dedication to the defence of children’s rights, empowering the child’s role through different means, making their voice truly heard. In particular, she has been recognised for her outstanding achievements in improving the juvenile justice system in South Africa, leading the process of drafting new legislation to protect at-risk children. Offering some words upon receiving the award, Professor Skelton highlighted that “it is an important time for juvenile justice, with the Global Study on Juveniles Deprived of Liberty about to start – I look forward to that process and the possibilities for reform that it brings.”
Dr. Rubén Vasconcelos Méndez (Mexico), Director of the Federal Legal Counsel of the Executive Committee of Attention to the Victims of Mexico, has been awarded for his intense dedication to the process of reforming and updating the legislative package that composes the Mexican juvenile justice system, faithfully following the principles contained in the Convention of the Rights of the Child; as well as for his personal commitment to the improvement of the situation of children and youth. Mr. Vasconcelos felt “deeply honoured” to receive the award, stating “this award is an incentive and an encouragement for me to continue my work in this important field. Our countries’ ongoing development demands that we double our efforts to ensure that social justice is a reality for all of our children.”
Mr. Ayub Mohamud Abdi (Kenya) is the recipient of the Honorific Award of the 4th edition. Mr Mohamud is a teacher and founder of Teachers Against Violent Extremism (TAVE). He has been awarded for his dedication to the prevention of the recruitment of young people by extremist groups, by educating new generations on respect for human rights. As well as this, he has been awarded for his work raising the awareness of educational professionals about the need to develop joint strategies to combat extremism in the classroom, providing children with the education they need to become the engine of African society. Mr Mohamud thanked the IJJO for this award, adding “I’ll be honoured to work with International Juvenile Justice Observatory in the Horn of Africa, or in other parts of the world, to protect children against violence, abuse and indoctrination.”
The International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO)
The International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO) established the ‘Juvenile Justice Without Borders’ International Award in 2010. The IJJO is a Belgian Foundation of Public Interest which originated in 2002 with the firm commitment of promoting the protection of children and adolescents immersed in cycles of violence, conflict and crime. The IJJO works to create new sources of knowledge, innovation and evidence on phenomena that affect them, and to encourage the practical implementation of international juvenile justice standards. Its main lines of work include research, technical cooperation, advocacy, and training.
Its objective is to improve the efficiency of systems, policies and models of juvenile justice in order to improve the lives of millions of children and adolescents who come into contact with the law all over the world. Essentially, its mission is to work for a Fair Juvenile Justice. This needs to be, therefore, an effective, inclusive, guarantee-providing, and child-protective juvenile justice.
Communications and Translation Coordinator
International Juvenile Justice Observatory
0034 968 344 344
JJWB Award Website: http://www.oijj.org/en/oijj-international-award/fourth-edition-2016
Date of the announcement: 20th of December
Alfonso Andreo Almansa
Communications and Translation Department
International Juvenile Justice Observatory