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Defence for Children International elects Abdul Manaff Kemokai as new President, confirms thirteen new national sections

Press release

Geneva – 7 March 2017.

The International General Assembly of Defence for Children International (DCI), which is composed by national sections and associated members in more than 35 countries, gathered in Geneva, Switzerland, from 1-3 March 2017.

On this occasion, the IGA elected a new President, Mr. Abdul Manaff Kemokai from Sierra Leone, and International Executive Council (IEC) to lead the Movement between 2017 and 2021. The composition of the new IEC is as follows:

  • President: Mr. Abdul Manaff Kemokai; DCI – Sierra Leone
  • Treasurer: Mr. Aloys van Rest; DCI – Netherlands
  • Vice-President Africa: Mr. Nirmal Busgopaul; DCI – Mauritius
  • Vice-President Americas: Ms. Vilma Amparo Gomez Pava; DCI – Colombia
  • Vice-President Asia-Oceania: Mr. Khaled Quzmar; DCI – Palestine
  • Vice-President Europe: Ms. Géraldine Mathieu; DCI – Belgium
  • Councillor: Mr. Juan Fumeiro; DCI – Uruguay

I feel honoured and gratified for the confidence you have reposed in me to be your president and lead you for the next four years” said Abdul Manaff Kemokai, who becomes the first representative from a national section in Africa to be elected as President.

Abdul Manaff Kemokai addressing the International General Assembly

Mr. Kemokai has been Executive Director of DCI-Sierra Leone since 2006, turning a voluntary-based structure into an organisation that operates today five offices and employs more than fourty local staff members throughout the country. In November 2016, Mr. Kemokai received the International Child 10 Award for his work and dedication to improve the situation of children in Sierra Leone.

Vice-President for Africa from 2008 to 2016, M. Kemokai added: “I am also grateful to my predecessor, Mr. Benoit van Keirsbilck, and his team for their hard work to ensure stability in the movement and increase optimism and motivation. My leadership will continue to promote such positive spirit by increasing contacts between the IEC, International Secretariat and the national sections, providing support and above all recognising the efforts of everyone irrespective of the size and quality of the contribution.”


The International General Assembly also granted full membership status to thirteen provisional national sections[1] of Defence for Children International, which are:

  • DCI-Burkina Faso
  • DCI-Central African Republic (Centre pour la Promotion et la Défense des droits de l’Enfant)
  • DCI-Guinea
  • DCI-Greece
  • DCI-Egypt (Egyptian Foundation For Advancement Of Childhood Conditions)
  • DCI-Lebanon (Connect Children Now)
  • DCI-Mauritania (Association Mauritanienne pour la Santé de la Mère et de l’Enfant)
  • DCI-Morocco (Bayti)
  • DCI-Spain
  • DCI-Somalia
  • DCI-Tunisia (Association Tunisienne des Droits de l’Enfant)
  • DCI-United Kingdom (Just for Kids Law)
  • DCI-Yemen (Democracy School)

With the thirteen new national sections, Defence for Children International is now strong of 35 national sections and 3 associated members worldwide.


The International General Assembly unanimously adopted DCI’s strategy for the next four years, which identifies four thematic priorities: justice for children, violence against children, children on the move, and children affected by conflicts.  The empowerment and participation of children, substantive gender equality as well as deprivation of liberty, in particular the active participation in and contribution to the UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty for which DCI leads civil society’s engagement, are crucial cross-cutting issues that will be addressed by members of the DCI Movement from 2017 to 2021.

The IGA’s final declaration recalls those priorities and the commitments that Defence for Children International has taken for the next four years – it is available here.


[1] In brackets: name of existing organisations that have become national sections of DCI in their respective countries. Those without names in brackets are newly-created national sections.

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