Is JLWOP a violation of human rights?

Yes. International human rights law prohibits life without parole sentences for those who commit their crimes before the age of 18, a prohibition that is universally applied outside of the United States. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which only the United States and Somalia have refused to ratify, explicitly prohibits life without parole sentences.  Additionally, JLWOP violates or drastically undermines at least three international treaties to which the United States is a party: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.  The international committees responsible for monitoring compliance with these treaties have criticized the United States for its continued use of JLWOP as a form of punishment.

Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)

International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)