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The Movement

Defence for Children International is an independent non-governmental organisation that has been promoting and protecting children’s rights on a global, regional, national and local level for 35 years.

Defence for Children International is represented through its national sections and associated members in 46* countries worldwide, and an International Secretariat based in Geneva, Switzerland.

Read more about us | See our brochure |View Fact Sheets in EN, FR, ES | Read national sections' stories


Juvenile Justice

Defence for Children International believes that no child belongs behind bars. The deprivation of liberty should be used only as the very last resort in dealing with children in conflict with the law.

During its International General Assembly in 2008, Defence for Children International reaffirmed its longstanding commitment to juvenile justice as its priority issue at the international level.
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Position Statements

As an international human rights organisation, Defence for Children International works to raise awareness about child rights violations and advocate for governments and stakeholders at regional and international levels to take action to implement international child rights standards.

Click below to read Defence for Children International’s position statements on key child rights issues.
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DCI Regional Workshop

CairoWorkshop Oct14Defence for Children International has started today, 20 October, the 3rd regional workshop for the MENA region in Cairo, Egypt, in the presence of the Ministry of the League of Arab States, Head of the Women, Family and Childhood department, to discuss child-friendly justice systems in the MENA region.

Eight out of eleven national sections from the Arab world are attending the workshop, and sharing their experience and approach to issues such as violence, access to education, and juvenile justice at the national level.

The meeting is part of the project Maa'n for Adala - Together for Justice that DCI is implementing in the region.


DCI Training Session: TOGETHER FOR JUSTICE: capacity building and awareness raising on advocacy and lobbying for children’s rights advocates from the MENA region

DSC Training 1From 18 to 24 September 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland, the International Secretariat of Defence for Children International (DCI-IS), in collaboration with Defence for Children-Palestine section, organises a seminar on advocacy and lobbying for children’s rights advocates from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The objective of the training is to strengthen the capacity of DCI representatives from the region on existing international human rights mechanisms and to demonstrate the various ways to effectively advocate and lobby for the human rights of children, and work towards concrete implementation on the ground.
This training is the second of this kind in Geneva and forms part of the regional programme on justice for children that DCI is implementing in some countries in the Middle-East and North Africa.
The seminar is sponsored by the Republic and Canton of Geneva, the Ministry of foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, through DCI/ ECPAT Netherlands, and the City of Geneva.
The DCI national sections that are attending the seminar include: Sudan, Yemen, Palestine, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco and Mauritania. Representatives from Latin America, Africa and Europe are also present to share their good practices and lessons learnt from their own experience.

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DCI-Liberia Ebola Awareness Raising
The Executive Director of DCI-Liberia, Mr. Foday M. Kawah, presenting Ebola prevention materials to the Commissioner of White Plains

Since the first registered case of the Ebola virus in March this year, West Africa has been confronted with the largest and most severe outbreak of the disease since the virus was first isolated in 1976. The most recent statistics compiled by the World Health Organization (WHO) show 2,473 registered cases and 1,350 deaths including children, reported from Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria where 12 confirmed cases were recently detected. Severely affected districts by this outbreak include Kenema and Kailahun in Sierra Leone, Guékédou in Guinea, and Foya in Liberia. As the outbreak is moving more rapidly than efforts to control and prevent it, there is risk the infection may spread to other regions.

Through its national sections present in the affected countries, Defence for Children International (DCI) has shown active participation in undertaking standard measures of restraining the proliferation of victims.

Read the full press release in EN | FR | ES
Defence for Children International calls for an immediate end to Israeli attacks that target civilian structures and violate international humanitarian law, including relevant provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Indiscriminate Israeli airstrikes have killed 46 Palestinian children since the operation began nine days ago and wounded dozens more.

Since Tuesday July 8, Israeli forces have launched at least 1,825 strikes on Gaza. The strikes have killed 202 Palestinians, 75% of whom are civilians, and injured more than 1,390 others, according to preliminary UN reports.

“The death and injury to children caused by Israel’s military offensive on Gaza demonstrates serious and extensive disregard of fundamental principles of international law,” said Rifat Kassis, executive director of DCI-Palestine. “Israeli forces must not carry out indiscriminate airstrikes in densely populated areas that fail to distinguish between military targets, civilians and civilian objects.”

Read the full press release in EN | FR | ES


Celebrating Achievements & Recognising Challenges

35 Anniversary LogoToday, 5 July 2014, Defence for Children International (DCI) celebrates its 35th anniversary. Founded in 1979, the International Year of the Child, DCI was one of the first international organisations dedicated to a child centred approach and held a historical role as drafter and advocate for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). 2014 also marks the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the UNCRC. With now a comprehensive legal tool in hand, which codifies in detail the rights of the child, we have much to celebrate…but significant work remains in making these rights a reality.

DCI has grown in its years and presently has 46 national sections worldwide (in Africa, the Middle East, Asia-Oceania, America and Europe) and continues to grow. Beyond its working priority for juvenile justice, DCI programmes around the world cover child labour, violence against children, children in armed conflict, sexual abuse and exploitation, child trafficking, access to education, migration and child participation.

Read the full press release in EN | FR | ES | AR



PACEAlthough the CRC remains the most widely ratified convention in history - with a holistic codification of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of every child - at its quarter of a century mark, implementation gaps are preoccupying.

Progress has been particularly unbalanced with regard juvenile justice. Despite the existence of a comprehensive set of international standards – both within the child rights movement, and within the broader human rights movement - to ensure the respect of their rights, children in conflict with the law too often see their basic human rights violated and are regularly exposed to ill-treatment and violence, unaware of their inherent human rights and the possibilities to exercise them.

International and regional mechanisms affirm that the situation of children in detention is indeed alarming, as states face continuing difficulties in upholding the human rights of children in juvenile justice systems. It is in this light that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted Resolution No. 2010 (2014) on juvenile justice [...].

Read the full press release in EN / FR / ES
Read the Resolution
Launch of a Call for a Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty

Campaign LogoWe call for a Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty to be carried out as there is a clear lack of quantitative and qualitative data (particularly disaggregated data), research and verified information on the situation of children deprived of their liberty worldwide.

Despite the fact that article 37 (b) of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states that: "deprivation of liberty should be a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time", children are all too often deprived of their liberty, being exposed to increased risks of abuse, violence, acute social discrimination and denial of their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

This Study would aim to map out – through monitoring and evaluation analysis – how existing international laws and standards are being implemented on the ground and assess the concrete possibilities for States to improve their policies and responses. Through the collection of sound evidence and reliable data, the Study would also provide a consolidation of good practices and the formulation of recommendations in order to support the work of States, UN agencies and other stakeholders to more effectively implement international standards and ensure that children deprived of their liberty have their human rights respected.
More info about the launch of the Campaign
Read the official Call for a Global Study in EN | FR | ES | AR | RU | CH | PT | IT
See the brochure




DCI Anniversary

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Call for a
Global Study on Children
Deprived of Liberty

Campaign Acronym

DCI Americas

Regional Juvenile Justice Observatory


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In Memory of Mr. Hashem Abu Maria

our dear colleague and friend, killed by Israeli forces in July 2014


read more about Hashem's work as a human rights activist
watch the video


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