On Universal Children’s Day Defence for Children International recalls key child rights issues in line with its thematic priorities

Press release –  20 November 2017


In light of Universal Children’s Day (20 November), a reminder of the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1989, Defence for Children International (DCI) – a grassroots movement with over 35 National Sections worldwide, and part of the NGO Group which drafted the CRC – would like to recall key child rights issues in line with its thematic priorities:


Justice for Children – “Children do not belong behind bars” (DCI, “No Kids Behind Bars” 2005)

DCI continues, as it has done historically, to advocate for deprivation of liberty to effectively become a measure of last resort (CRC article 37). Since 2014, when DCI launched a campaign calling for a Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty, a NGO Panel has been established (presently composed of 140 members); the Study has been formally requested through a UN General Assembly resolution; and an Independent Expert, Professor Manfred Nowak, has been appointed. The Study however requires additional funding to ensure it is implemented and achieves its overarching goal of collecting primary data on the situation of children in detention. DCI, as co-convener of the NGO Panel, is working together with key actors, alongside the Independent Expert, to ensure this Study is realized to the best extent possible.


Violence Against Children – “All violence is preventable” (UN Study on Violence 2006)

DCI’s interventions address violence in its various forms, including gender-based violence and sexual abuse exploitation. One of our joint programmes to tackle this issue is the Girls Advocacy Alliance (GAA). With this 5-year advocacy programme various National Sections of DCI contribute to promote gender equality and equal rights and opportunities for girls and young women, focusing on the elimination of gender-based violence and the economic empowerment of girls and young women in 10 countries in Africa and Asia. In addition, DCI advocates to ensure that homes, schools and places where children are deprived of liberty are environments free from violence.


Children on the Move – “States should expeditiously and completely cease the detention of children on the basis of their immigration status.” (UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, 2012)

DCI is member of the Initiative for Child Rights in the Global Compacts, which following the New York Declaration (2016) will work to raise awareness around and accountability for the rights of children on the move and other children affected by migration. DCI National Sections in Belgium, Italy, Greece, Lebanon and the Netherlands are directly assisting children on the move to ensure their rights are respected, protected and fulfilled.


Children affected by Conflict – “Every child affected by armed conflicts should receive protection and care” (CRC, article 38)

DCI recently worked together with other key actors to ensure the establishment of an international investigation body to monitor human rights violations in Yemen, which was successfully established through a Human Rights Council resolution in September; DCI is now advocating to ensure child rights expertise are included in its composition. Through its National Sections in Yemen, Palestine, Colombia and the Central African Republic, DCI works directly with children to ensure their rights are effectively upheld in such situations.

DCI believes that child participation is key to empowering children in becoming advocates of their own human rights and actors for sustainable change.

Happy Universal Children’s Day!


Media contact:

For further information, please contact Paula Trujillo at paula.trujillo@defenceforchildren.org or by phone at +41(0)227340558


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