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Defence for Children International Regional MENA desk officially becomes part of the Arab Childhood Committee of the League of Arab States (LAS)

PRESS RELEASE: Representatives from Defence for Children International (DCI) Middle East and North African (MENA) region gathered on 2 March 2015 in the premises of the League of Arab States (LAS) in Cairo, Egypt, at the presence of the H.E. Ambassador Ms. Inas Mekkawy, Chief of the LAS Department of Family, Women and Childhood affairs and H.E. Mousnira Khattab, former member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC). The meeting proved fruitful as DCI desk for the MENA region has now officially been recognized as member of the Arab Childhood Committee of the League of Araba States. DCI is the only child rights organisation specialised in justice for children and involved in the violence against children agenda within the Arab world.

Raising awareness and monitoring violations of children’s human rights within Arab world, in application of international standards for the protection of children and in particular the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is the main reference of DCI’s work. “We need to work together to improve the situation of children’s rights in the region“, said H.E Ambassador Mekkawy, and “we cannot hide ourselves behind the concept of cultural specificities as if these were preventing us from respecting children’s rights which are universal“, proclaimed H.E. Ambassador Khattab.

Regional workshop on child justice in the Arab world
Today also marks the inauguration of the seventh regional workshop on child justice in the Arab world, which will take place over the next two days in Cairo, in cooperation with the Women, Family and Children’s Department of the League of Arab States (LAS). The workshop is organized by Defence for Children International (DCI) Regional Office for the MENA region, with twelve DCI national sections attending together with DCI sections specialized in child rights and juvenile justice from other regions of the world. Among the most emerging topics being discussed, key issues include: the situation of detention of detention and rehabilitation centers in Palestine; the sexual abuse of minors in Mauritania; and the conditions of street children in Morocco. The latest version of the Arab database on juvenile justice will be finalized on the last day of the workshop, in follow-up to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution (69/157), 18 December 2014, to work on a worldwide Study on Children Deprived of Liberty. “We should work with the support of all Arab states to make the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty a real difference for children of the region“, said Ileana Bello, Executive Director of Defence for Children International (DCI).

Arab Guide on Child Friendly Justice
In addition, the Arab Guide on Child Friendly Justice will be presented during this regional workshop, with a special focus on the situation of children in conflict with the law. Defence for Children International (DCI) – Palestine, coordinator of the MENA-region desk of DCI, is preparing a Child Friendly Justice Guide for the MENA region. With this Guide there will finally be an adoption of common rules in all legal aspects affecting children in conflict with the law throughout all stages of judicial proceedings. Director of DCI Palestine, Khaled Quzmar stated: “We have an ambitious agenda in front of us for these next few days of meetings, but we should all work at making the Guidelines on Child-Friendly justice for Children for the Arab world a concrete reality“.

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