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About us

DEFENCE FOR CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL(DCI) is a leading child rights-focused and membership-based grassroots movement founded in 1979.

Our mandate is to ensure effective implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) at the local, national and international level.


Our vision is that children, as human beings, are able to pursue a life in which they can enjoy their human rights with dignity, in a just and responsible society. In all that we do, we aspire to work in a transparent, accountable, sustainable and socially transformative way.

Who We Are

Defence for Children International is a worldwide movement for children’s rights with National Sections and Associated Members active across four continents. Each of DCI’s National Sections works on those child rights issues that are the most relevant to their respective national contexts.

Our International Secretariat is based in Geneva, Switzerland. It plays a crucial role in lobbying and advocating for children’s rights within United Nations human rights mechanisms.

World Service Foundation based in Brussels was created in 2016 to advocate toward the European Institutions.

Where We Work

Defence for Children International has National Sections and Associated Members active across four continents. Each National Section works on those child rights issues that are the most relevant to the national context


Our Structure

A unique participative governance

The International Executive Council is DCI’s governing authority. It is composed of eight members from the National Sections elected every four years during the General Assembly. They meet up to four times per year to steer the implementation of the Strategic Framework of the Movement.

An International General Assembly open to all National Sections is organised every four years to discuss and adopt the Movement’s Strategic Framework.

The International Secretariat (IS). acts as operational coordinator and focal point for the National Sections. The IS engages with the relevant human rights mechanisms based in Geneva, including the UNCRC, the Human Rights Council, and other human rights bodies.

An Advisory Committee of renowned child rights and governance experts provides . technical support to the DCI Movement.

What We Do

DCI National Sections are grassroots organisations which  develop and implement programs responding to the needs and priorities of children in their countries. During the last DCI General Assembly, in November 2022 in Mauritania, a new Strategic Framework was adopted to guide the Movement’s work from 2022 to 2026.  

Overarching Priority

Strategic Priorities

Cross-cutting Issues

Our Partners

DCI has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and advocates at the UN Human Rights Council and during sessions of the UN Committee on the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  Moreover, DCI maintains close relations with the Human Rights Special Procedures. DCI also co-convenes the NGO Panel for the UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty together with Human Rights Watch.

In the AmericasDCI conducts advocacy with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and with several civil society networks such as the REDLAMYC and MMI-CLAC.

In Africa DCI has an observer status with the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and works closely as well with the African Child Policy Forum, ISS, West African Network and Mano River Union.

In Europe DCI interacts with the European Union and the Council of Europe.

In the Middle East and North Africa DCI collaborates with the League of Arab States as a members of its Childhood Committee.

Actors for Justice, Advocates for Rights

World Service Foundation

The NGO Panel for the Global Study

Strategic Documents

Annual Reports

                                                                                                               DCI Annual Report 2022-2023

DCI Annual Report 2021-2022

DCI Annual Report 2020-2021

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