Dutch police accused of ignoring child rights
The police in the Netherlands are not adhering to the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child when dealing with underage suspects, according to a report by Defence for Children International.
Dutch police are criticised for treating children suspected of crime too much like adults. There are few rules specifically designed to deal with underage detainees and this is reported to result in children being kept in custody too long before they come to court.
Convention The UN convention lays down that countries should do all they can to ensure that regulations safeguard the rights of underage suspects as much as possible. The police should have enough staff who know how to deal with children and police stations should have special cells for children.
Underage suspects in the Netherlands are said often to be held too long in custody. In other countries, children can be held in police cells for a maximum of 24 hours, but in the Netherlands this can be as long as 16 days 15 hours, depending on the age of the suspect.
Investigation Defence for Children says the Dutch authorities give the interests of the investigation more weight than the interests of the child. “There is scant attention paid to the rights and interests of underage suspects during the first three days at the police station.”
The number of underage suspects in the Netherlands has decreased over recent years, while the number of children held in custody after interrogation has increased. Defence for Children says that 9136 underage suspects were held in custody in the Netherlands last year, up from 8142 in 2009.
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