PH International

ZANG Program Armenia Staff in Belgium - Exchange Visit on Juvenile Justice

Armenia | ZANG Armenian Legal Socialization Project | 13 Jan 2012

In August 2011 the cooperation between PH International and “Embarquement Immédiat”, a Belgian NGO resulted in development of reparatory works for four juvenile offenders from Armenia and Belgium to be realized in the summer camp organized by “Armenian Camp”, an NGO promoting social integration of disabled children. Four juveniles, accompanied with ZANG CJC mentor and an educator from Belgium, spent five days volunteering and assisting camp counselors and children in daily activities. The participants of this project shared their experience on PH International web site

To continue and strengthen the cooperation between Armenian and Belgian partners Patrick Modave, Director of “Embarquement Immédiat,” invited Mariam  Martirosyan, Armenia Country Director for PH International, and Dzyunik Vanesyan, ZANG Program  Manager, to participate in a 1-week professional exchange visit to Brussels to study the youth justice system in Europe, particularly in Belgium, visit the institutions which work with young offenders and provide restorative activities, as well aslearn about the government support provided for the reparative programs for juveniles.

During Nov. 12-17, 2011 visit the 2 PH International staff attended public institutions for Youth Protection (Institution Publique de Protection de la Jeunesse) in Liege – a public service which accommodates young offenders starting from age of 12.  They had meetings with the educators, working with juvenile offenders and had a tour in closed and public institutions to which the juveniles are referred from the court. Another interesting meeting was organized in “Arpege”, an NGO providing Restorative Justice Services to young offenders.  The team of “Arpege” described the services they have developed for juveniles. These meetings gave a chance to share and compare the experiences of Restorative Justice activities in Belgium and in Armenia and to compare the challenges and successes. 

The exchange program was completed by the final meeting at the office of Central Administration of Services for the support of youth (Générale de l'Aideà la Jeunesse) in Brussels. A detailed presentation on juvenile justice system in Belgium and state restorative justice programs was delivered to the Armenian delegation by a team of lawyers and inspectors working on juveniles issues. 

Throughout the whole program the PH International staff received invaluable support from the entire team of “Embarquement Immédiat” which initiated this cooperation. The NGO staff shared their experience, ideas and lessons learnt from years of involving referred juvenile offenders intheir NGO's work with disabled children as part of those juveniles' reparative assignments.