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.
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.
The International association of youth and family judges and magistrates (IAYFJM), Terre des hommes Foundation, and Penal Reform International (PRI) with Child Rights International Network(CRIN), Defence for Children International (DCI), Judicial Training Institute of Belgium (IGO- IFJ) and the Information for All Programme of UNESCO, are organizing the 2018 World Congress on Justice for Children at the UNESCO House in Paris-France from the 28th to 30th of May 2018.
Under the title “Strengthening justice systems for children: Challenges, including disengagement from violent extremism”, The World Congress will address three major issues:
- The global trend towards children’s involvement in violent extremism and possible responses
- The need for more effective ways to reduce juvenile offending and recidivism
- How to improve protection mechanisms for vulnerable children, including early prevention.
The 2018 World Congress on Justice for Children aims to bring together professionals and stakeholders from all around the world to share their perspectives on:
- youth and family justice
- the prevention of offending and violent extremism
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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.
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.
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.
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.