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The guidelines on child-friendly justice, and their explanatory memorandum, were adopted by the Council of Europe in 2010. Based on existing international and European standards, in particular the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the European Convention on Human Rights, the guidelines are designed to guarantee children's effective access to and adequate treatment in justice. They apply to all the circumstances in which children are likely, on any ground and in any capacity, to be in contact with the criminal, civil or administrative justice system. They recall and promote the principles of the best interests of the child, care and respect, participation, equal treatment and the rule of law. The guidelines address issues such as information, representation and participation rights, protection of privacy, safety, a multidisciplinary approach and training, safeguards at all stages of proceedings and deprivation of liberty.
The 47 Council of Europe member states are encouraged to adapt their legal systems to the specific needs of children, bridging the gap between internationally agreed principles and reality. To that end, the explanatory memorandum offers examples of good practices and proposes solutions to address and remedy legal and practical gaps in justice for children.
These guidelines form an integral part of the Council of Europe's strategy on children's rights and its programme "Building a Europe for and with children". A series of promotion, co-operation and monitoring activities are planned in member states in view of ensuring effective implementation of the guidelines for the benefit of all children.