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Human Rights Watch Amicus Brief on Juvenile Life-Without-Parole Sentences

Submitted before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Human Rights Watch filed an amicus brief in the case of Henry Hill, et al. v. the United States (12.866) that is before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The amicus submission demonstrates in detail how the United States, including the state of Michigan, fails to provide special protection to thousands of children under the age of 18 every year, in violation of human rights that have long been recognized by the Inter-American human rights system. We specifically urge the Commission to find that the United States has violated its obligations with respect to the rights of children in the Inter-American human rights system, as well as under international law more generally. By recognizing the fundamental human rights of all children, including their right to special protection, and finding the regressive trend of adultification of juvenile justice procedures in the United States and the life without parole sentences that can result from these procedures to directly conflict with that right, the Commission will encourage all Organization of American States (“OAS”) member States—particularly the United States—to review their laws to ensure that they conform with the international standards for the treatment of all children, including those charged with and convicted of crimes.

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