In addition to activities run at the local and national level, DCI is involved in various regional and international projects, for which Regional Desks and the International Secretariat (IS) act as partner or coordinating bodies.

International projects

CAMPAIGN CALLING FOR A GLOBAL STUDY ON CHILDREN DEPRIVED OF LIBERTY

In March 2014, the International Secretariat of DCI launched a campaign calling for a UN Study on Children Deprived of Liberty (GSCDL). Over the next few months, the campaign gained the support of over 90 non-governmental NGOs, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Children, the Special Rapporteur on Torture and other child rights experts and institutions. On 18 December 2014, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) officially requested for the GSCDL to be carried out and the implementation phase is set to begin in 2016. Read more about the GSCDL campaign.

TOGETHER FOR JUSTICE: EMPOWERING DCI CHILD RIGHTS DEFENDERS

In 2014, the IS launched the project: Together for Justice: how Human Rights Defenders can uphold their action in defending child rights in the justice system. The IS works together with DCI Regional Desks in Europe (Brussels), MENA region (Palestine), Americas (Uruguay) and Africa (Sierra Leone) with the aim to improve the overall situation of children involved in the justice system by empowering child rights advocates of DCI.

COMBATTING SEXUAL EXPLOITATION AND CHILD SEX TOURISM

The project Reducing violence against children, with special focus on sexual exploitation of children and child sex tourism is coordinated by DCI/ECPAT Netherlands and involves the IS, the MENA Regional Desk and DCI national sections. This project started in 2014 and aims to ensure effective civil society response to violence against children, providing global and evidence-based guidance to combat sexual exploitation of children, particularly in travel and tourism. More than 297’000 information materials were disseminated, 27 online campaigns were set up, 4’499 professionals of the tourist industry were trained, and 84 referral protocols were established. Last but not least, 7’723 children received direct assistance, including socio-legal services, medical and psychological support, and life skills and vocational training.

IMPROVING THE SITUATION OF CHILDREN IN THE JUSTICE SYSTEM

The IS, in collaboration with the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), carries out a project aiming to contribute to the improvement of the situation of children in the justice systems of Switzerland and around the world. With the financial support of Loterie Romande, the project runs until August 2016. As part of this project, the IS and OMCT have organised the Justice for Children Award Competition. This competition encourages academic research within Swiss Universities on the obstacles and challenges that compromise the realisation of children’s rights in justice systems, with a specific focus on violence against children. Know more about the Justice for Children Award.

Regional Projects

AFRICA

In Africa, DCI works in partnership with the International Social Service (ISS), West African Network (WAN) and the Mano River Union (MRU) in order to develop a sub-regional policy on child protection.

DCI also runs a Defence for Girls Project (part of the Girl Power Programme), which aims at empowering girls in five African countries (Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone (DCI national sections), and Ethiopia and Zambia (partner organisations)) by supporting the establishment of Girls Clubs and Child Rights Clubs. In 2014, 57’000 girls and young women participated, 251 government officials and professionals were trained on the specific issue of protection from violence and 198 public authorities were reached through awareness-raising and advocacy campaigns.

Moreover, DCI continuously collaborates with the African Child Policy Forum (ACPF), with which it drafted the “Guidelines on Action for Children in the Justice system in Africa” (2011). The Guidelines were adopted by the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC). DCI Africa is currently applying to obtain Observer Status within the ACERWC.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

The Ma’an for Adala – Together for Justice Project aims to strengthen the capacities of DCI national sections and other child rights civil society organisations (CSOs) in the MENA region, in order to promote the principles of child-friendly justice. Through the reinforcement of their capacities, DCI national sections are better able to directly assist children, advocate and lobby for the promotion of child-friendly justice principles but also conduct extensive research and monitoring activities on the situation of children’s rights in their respective countries. In October 2015, DCI-MENA published an “Overview of the Child Rights Situation in 10 Arab Countries”. DCI-MENA also increased its collaboration with the League of Arab States, leading the two parties to sign a Memorandum of Understanding.

LATIN AMERICA

With the financial support of the European Union, DCI-Americas established the Regional Observatory on Juvenile Justice aiming to provide reliable quantitative and qualitative information on the functioning of the juvenile justice system in eight countries where DCI has national sections: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Paraguay and Uruguay. The Observatory reported an astonishing total of 31,067 children held in custody in 2014, with a slight decrease observed in 2015 (27’417), in the 8 countries under review. The high rates of pre-trial detention showcase the repressive and punitive tendencies in juvenile justice systems within the region. The prevalence of overcrowded and/or non-child-friendly places of detention leads to regular instances of torture and other ill treatments, as well as deaths of juvenile detainees. In its 2015 monitoring report, the Observatory particularly insisted on the negative impact of drug policies on juvenile justice systems.

EUROPE

The project “Children’s Rights Behind Bars. Human rights of children deprived of liberty: improving monitoring mechanisms is led by DCI-Belgium and involves the IS, DCI-France, DCI-Italy, DCI-The Netherlands, and other partner organisations. The project aims to monitor the implementation of international juvenile justice standards in 14 European countries and to strengthen the cooperation between EU member states to ensure that the human rights of children deprived of liberty are ensured at all times. The monitoring report is to be followed by the presentation of a Practical Guide in January 2016, to be used as a blueprint document to monitor the respect of children’s rights in places of deprivation of liberty.

TWELVE is another collaborative initiative that involves DCI-Italy, DCI-Spain and DCI-Belgium, and aims at facilitating the implementation of Article 12 of the Child`s Rights Convention in the juvenile justice systems of Europe.

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In addition, DCI, and particularly the Italian section, is also involved in the regional projects SafeGuard and RESILAND dealing with the specific issue of the protection of children on the move. SafeGuard aims at enhancing the protection of children on the move through the prompt appointment and qualification of guardians in congested points of arrival on the Mediterranean coasts. The RESILAND project looks to empower children on the move who are at risk of trafficking and exploitation by building the capacity of child protection professionals. DCI-Italy most notably organized a training course for 30 participants coming from 18 EU countries and contributed to the project major outputs: a booklet for professionals “Orientations for Professionals and Officials working with Children on the Move”, an interactive teaching experience “Resil’s Story”, and a video documentary on the implementation of the project.