The City of Reykjavík has announced that winter curfew hours for young people are now in effect. However, the United Nations has repeatedly stated that such curfews violate the human rights of children.
The announcement states: “Children 12 years of age and younger should not be outside by themselves later than 20:00. Children 13-16 years of age should not be outside without an adult later than 22:00. The exception is children walking home from a organised school, leisure centre, or sporting event.”
This announcement is purportedly supported by the National Commissioner of the Police, and a family interests group called SAMAN, which spearheaded the curfews.
Lasting from September 1 to May 1, these curfews are ostensibly for the protection of children. However, they may also violate these same children’s human rights, the UN contends.
The UN Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency have criticised curfew laws, called “status offenses”, on the grounds that they “stigmatise, victimise, and criminalise young people”, and that “legislation should be enacted to ensure that any conduct not considered an offence or not penalised if committed by an adult is not considered an offence and not penalised if committed by a young person”.
Furthermore, the Committee on the Rights of the Child and the UN World Report on Violence Against Children want to see status offences abolished. The Child Rights International Network has also covered this subject extensively, pointed out that these laws do not reduce juvenile delinquency, do not make children any safer, and that lower income children are disproportionately affected by these laws.