The United Nations has voiced "grave concern" about the violation of children's rights in Britain.
Jaap Doek, chairman of the UN committee on the rights of the child, has asked why Britain tolerates the unnecessary jailing of juveniles.
He has asked the government to take action to stop abuses, recalling the death of two children in custody this year and asking why Britain tolerated the unnecessary jailing of juveniles.
He said that Britainís progress in tackling youth poverty is too slow. He agrees that teenage workers wages are low, that it is wrong to withdraw rights from child asylum seekers, and that discrimination in the system makes it three times more likely that young black people will be in prison than at university.
The committee on the rights of the child inspected UK performance in 2002 and made 78 recommendations for improvement, including calls for a ban on smacking and reform of juvenile justice. The alliance says the government has so far made progress on only 17.
Mr Doek said: "The UK will next be examined by my committee in 2009. That is too long to wait for children whose human rights are being violated today. Urgent action is required Ö the UK still locks up more children than most other industrialised countries. Why is this tolerated?"
A Home Office spokeswoman said: "The government takes the safety of juveniles in custody very seriously.