LATIN AMERICA (REGIONAL, ECUADOR, COLOMBIA).
At the regional level, Tdh is collaborating with two regional fora, Cumbre Judicial Iberoamericana and Conferencia de Ministros de Justicia de Países Iberoamericanos (“COMJIB”), in order to prepare a regional statement that could set the framework for coordinated responses at a national level and that will also identify the successes and challenges presented by the measures taken so far during the COVID-19 crisis. Tdh is also participating actively in webinars organised by partners that aim at the provision of guidelines as to what measures should be taken in detention centres.
In Ecuador, Tdh has been acting at several different levels. On one hand, Tdh monitors the actions of educators and team members at the detention centres to maintain accountability for such personnel and to provide technical support for planning recreational and educational activities for the detained children. Additionally, Tdh is involved in advocating for policy measures that reduce the detention of children due to minor offenses such as curfew violations. Tdh also works with local activists on providing general legal support for the defence of children facing imminent detention. Specific to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tdh is working with its partners and public institutions in delivering food and hygiene kits for 650 child detainees. Tdh has also provided technical support to the Supreme Court of Ecuador leading to its decision to temporarily suspend prison rules that required child detainees to periodically present themselves to authorities, thereby reducing their risk of potential exposure to the contagion. Finally, Tdh is working to reinforce pedagogical teams from the detention centres that work with children detainees in order to provide them psychological support and to guide them in the organisation of recreational and pedagogical activities for children in detention during this crisis, because using time for structured activities is important to reduce stress levels among children.
In Colombia, Tdh has set up a follow-up call service for children who have gone through the penal system and have been released. This follow-up service focuses on physical reintegration of previously incarcerated youth.