In order to inform the United Nations Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty, in February 2018, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), on behalf of the Independent Expert, distributed a Questionnaire to member States and other relevant stakeholders, including international monitoring bodies, UN agencies, such as UNODC, UNICEF, UNHCR, OHCHR, National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Academia.

Conceptually based on expert input gathered through a consultative process in 2017, the Questionnaire is primarily aimed at collecting and providing quantitative statistical data about the number of children deprived of liberty. In addition, the questionnaire requests Governments to provide examples of promising practices and innovative alternative approaches aimed at reducing the number of children deprived of liberty.

Governments are requested to identify a national focal person responsible for coordinating the response to the questionnaire and for liaising with field offices of UN Agencies and with NGOs and other relevant stakeholders involved in compiling the requested data. Details of the appointed focal person are to be shared here: 

The questionnaire requests Governments to make a special effort in collecting data at a particular point in time (i.e. 26 June 2018) to provide a “snapshot” of the number of children detained. It is also possible however for replies to include data based on another day of the year. Questions also include the total number of children detained annually in each of the past ten years (2008 to 2017) - this will facilitate a limited trend analysis.


Arabic | English | French | Russian | Spanish 
Portuguese | Bahasa | Burmese | Khmer | Lao | Malay |Vietnamese

Responses to the questionnaire are to be sent in both hard copy and electronic format in one of the six official United Nations languages no later than 1 September 2018 to:

Manfred Nowak
CH-1211 Geneva 10

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

By when and to whom should the questionnaire be sent?

The deadline to complete the questionnaire is 1 September 2018. The completed questionnaire is to be sent in both hard and electronic copy to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):

Physical address:
Manfred Nowak
CH-1211 Geneva 10

Email address:

What does the “snapshot” date mean and what if information from 26 June 2018 is not available?

Since past data might not be available and since there is no clear number  on how many children are deprived of liberty, the questionnaire requests governments to make a special effort in collecting data on a particular point in time, namely 26 June 2018, to provide a “snapshot” of the number of children detained. Governments are requested to instruct all heads of prisons and other detention facilities in time to be well prepared to gather disaggregated data on 26 June. The snapshot data will allow to assess the global magnitude (while eliminating double-counting). If your government collects such “snapshot” data on a different date of the year, please provide information based on that specific date.

What is the process of replying to the questionnaire?

The completion of the questionnaire should ideally follow a collaborative process. A focal point is to be appointed within the government to coordinate with all relevant actors (ministries, UN agencies, NHRIs, NGOs, NPMs, etc.). Share the details of the focal person (name, position, and email) here:

Who should complete the questionnaire?

It is encouraged that the questionnaire be completed in a collaborative manner with all relevant entities engaged in the provision of information. The questionnaire can, if preferred, be completed by the different entities separately (government, UN agencies, NGOs, NHRIs, NPMs, etc.). Information on responses (collective / individual) will not be disclosed.

Who will have access to the information shared in the completed questionnaire?

To secure the confidentiality of the information provided in the questionnaire, access to the responses of the questionnaire (raw data) will be restricted to the Independent Expert and his team only. Consolidated statistics, accompanied with appropriate contextual analysis and further reliability checks, will be integrated into the Study.

How can I or my organization contribute to the Global Study?

If you or your organization would like to get involved in the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty, please contact

Since funding for the Study remains an ongoing process, donations are most welcome and are to be directed to the OHCHR Donor and External Relations Section (

What if I have a specific question? Who should I contact?

Please see “contacts” section below, which includes general contacts and specific thematic contacts - depending on your question.

When providing a reply to the questionnaire:

Where should I include information on “child reform schools”?

Information concerning “child reform schools”, or other correctional institutions outside of the justice system, is to be included under Chapter IV, Children Deprived of Liberty in Institutions (page 19 of the questionnaire) 

What does “non-citizens” refer to?

Non-citizens refers to all persons who are not citizens of the country, including stateless persons and citizens of other States.

What does the category "P-persons" stand for exactly?

“P” would mean “persons” (as in total of persons under 18 years of age).

Additional information:

Materials/information on relevant topics included in the Study are welcome. These can be shared in electronic copy here: