United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived
of their Liberty
Adopted by General Assembly resolution 45/113 of 14 December 1990
I. Fundamental perspectives
1. The juvenile justice system should uphold the rights and safety and promote the physical and
mental well-being of juveniles. Imprisonment should be used as a last resort.
2. Juveniles should only be deprived of their liberty in accordance with the principles and procedures
set forth in these Rules and in the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of
Juvenile Justice (The Beijing Rules). Deprivation of the liberty of a juvenile should be a disposition of
last resort and for the minimum necessary period and should be limited to exceptional cases. The
length of the sanction should be determined by the judicial authority, without precluding the possibility
of his or her early release.
3. The Rules are intended to establish minimum standards accepted by the United Nations for the
protection of juveniles deprived of their liberty in all forms, consistent with human rights and
fundamental freedoms, and with a view to counteracting the detrimental effects of all types of
detention and to fostering integration in society.
4. The Rules should be applied impartially, without discrimination of any kind as to race, colour, sex,
age, language, religion, nationality, political or other opinion, cultural beliefs or practices, property,
birth or family status, ethnic or social origin, and disability. The religious and cultural beliefs, practices
and moral concepts of the juvenile should be respected.
5. The Rules are designed to serve as convenient standards of reference and to provide
encouragement and guidance to professionals involved in the management of the juvenile justice
6. The Rules should be made readily available to juvenile justice personnel in their national languages.
Juveniles who are not fluent in the language spoken by the personnel of the detention facility should
have the right to the services of an interpreter free of charge whenever necessary, in particular during
medical examinations and disciplinary proceedings.
7. Where appropriate, States should incorporate the Rules into their legislation or amend it accordingly
and provide effective remedies for their breach, including compensation when injuries are inflicted on
juveniles. States should also monitor the application of the Rules.
8. The competent authorities should constantly seek to increase the awareness of the public that the
care of detained juveniles and preparation for their return to society is a social service of great
importance, and to this end active steps should be taken to foster open contacts between the juveniles
and the local community.
9. Nothing in the Rules should be interpreted as precluding the application of the relevant United
Nations and human rights instruments and standards, recognized by the international community, that
are more conducive to ensuring the rights, care and protection of juveniles, children and all young
10. In the event that the practical application of particular Rules contained in sections II to V,
inclusive, presents any conflict with the Rules contained in the present section, compliance with the
latter shall be regarded as the predominant requirement.
II. Scope and application of the rules
11. For the purposes of the Rules, the following definitions should apply: