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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 47* 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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Watch the Side-Event: 10 March Children Deprived of Liberty, a Global Perspective by webcast
On the occasion of the Human Rights Council- 28th Session, Defence for Children International organised a side-event. During the side-event we shared information on the situation of children in detention worldwide in light of the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty (A/RES/69/157). The panelists: - Mr. Juan MENDEZ, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment - Ms. Leila ZERROUGUI, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict - Ms. Marta Santos PAIS, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Violence against Children - Ms. Carolina BARBARA, World Organization against Torture - OMCT - Mr. Benoit VAN KEIRSBILCK, Defence for Children International, DCI.
The side-event is recorded, you can see the webcast here.

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

Read here the full press release (EN).

World Congress on Juvenile Justice: promoting the principles of a child-friendly and restorative justice
From 26th to 30th of January 2015, around 900 delegates from more than 80 countries attended the very first World Congress on Juvenile Justice, co-organised by Switzerland, in collaboration with the Terre des Hommes foundation. Defence for Children International (DCI) was involved since the very beginning in shaping the Congress, mainly through the Interagency Panel on Juvenile Justice (IPJJ), but also as long-lasting partner of Terre des Hommes. DCI, expert on justice for children, has contributed  to the Congress, next to the presence of a great number of representatives from its various national sections, DCI made four presentations during the high-level event. Read more.

A step in the (human) right direction for children being deprived of liberty worldwide
Campaign AcronymOn 18 December 2014, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) officially requested for the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty to be carried out. In its Child Rights Resolution, the UNGA explicitly invites for the commission of “an in-depth global study on children deprived of liberty”. This marks the success of the campaign calling for such Study and the commencement of its concrete implementation.
Defence for Children International (DCI) is proud to announce the success of its campaign calling for a Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty, which was officially launched in March of this year, with the support of over sixty non-governmental organisations (NGOs), States and United Nations human rights agencies and experts.

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

Advocating for the inclusion of violence against children into the UN post-2015 agenda
Post2015AgendaVACDCI as part of the Working Group disseminating the recommendations discussed during the High Level Panel on Violence Against Children, held in September 2014 during the 27th Session of the Human Rights Council

see the Fact Sheet
spread the word using hashtags: #endViolenceAgainstChildren #endVACpost2015 ; #endviolence ; #post2015

Gender Sensitive approach: key to the fight against the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)Gender and Ebola web
From the outset of the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone, Defence for Children International - Sierra Leone (DCI-SL) has observed that women and girls are at greater risk of contracting the disease than men and boys. Though the official statistics released to the public are not usually disaggregated by age and sex, these observations have been echoed by UN bodies, humanitarian and human rights organisations monitoring the crisis, as well as health workers. UNICEF in particular has reported that women across the three most affected countries account for 55 to 60 percent of deaths in the epidemic. 

read the full press release
learn more about DCI-Sierra Leone's response to the Ebola virus outbreak.