14 Feb 2014

PNG parliament unanimously votes in new juvenile justice bill

11:19 am on 14 February 2014

The Papua New Guinea Parliament has passed a bill giving children an alternative punishment to imprisonment.

The Juvenile Justice Bill, introduced by Attorney General and Justice Minister Kerenga Kua, was passed unanimously with 75 votes.

Mr Kua says the legislation will replace the Juvenile Courts Act with a comprehensive juvenile justice system based on the principles of restorative justice, Melanesian tradition and contemporary juvenile justice practices.

But he says there will be challenges implementing the Act, with stakeholders dealing with concepts and innovations such as diversion and restorative justice.

He says the Juvenile Justice Bill promotes rehabilitation, the reduction of unnecessary pre-trial detention, the prevention of abuse of juveniles in jails, as well as the training of juvenile police officers and voluntary juvenile court officers.