10 November 2015 – As the conflict and violence in Libya continues, Unicef is stepping up efforts to better protect children through the training of local authorities. Thirty-eight social workers from Libya successfully recently completed a training in Tunisia on the promotion of justice for children.
Armed conflict and political instability since 2011 has exposed Libya’s children to several forms of violence and exploitation. According to the United Nations, 2.4 million Libyans, 40 percent of them children are in need of some form of protection assistance. In Tripoli and Benghazi alone, 270,000 children require psycho-social support on account of their exposure to violence related to the armed conflict.
The training is part of Unicef’s programme to support the Libyan authorities in developing a justice system that responds to children’s needs and is in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child which Libya has ratified.
“An important part of our work in Libya is to promote long-term child rights-based practices, including in the juvenile justice system, in parallel with the humanitarian response interventions,” said Ghassan Khalil, Unicef Representative in Libya. “Empowering social workers is crucial to uphold the rights of children in general, particularly those who have cases before the law, either as victims or witnesses”, he added.
The Unicef training programme provides social workers with knowledge of fundamental principles of juvenile justice, the unique role of the social worker and the community-based rehabilitation programmes. The programme also strengthens the social workers’ skills in implementing best practices when handling cases involving children in conflict with the law, or children who become in contact with the law due to being witnesses or victims.
Participants for the training were nominated and selected by the Libyan social welfare authorities who facilitated their travel from all over Libya to attend the workshops in Tunisia.
Earlier this year, Unicef in cooperation with the Libyan social authorities inaugurated the first model Family and Child Protection Unit in Az-Zawiyah city. The unit’s central role is to provide support to families and children in contact with the law.
Since the outbreak of armed conflict in Libya in 2011, Unicef has continued to work with Libyan municipal authorities and non-governmental partners to provide a continuum of services for children, including in education, child protection, and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.
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