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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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A step in the (human) right direction for children being deprived of liberty worldwide

Campaign AcronymToday, 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
DCI-Netherlands to Co-Host the Side-Event “Monitoring Conditions in Detention for Children and Young People" in Leiden, Netherlands
During the “International Conference 25 Years CRC”, DCI-Netherlands will co-host and moderate the side event “Monitoring conditions in detention for children and young people”, on 18 November 2022 at the Children’s Rights House in Leiden. It will examine the situation of children and young people in detention – an especially vulnerable group whose rights are often overlooked. The panel discussion will provide an overview of the particular risks faced by children in detention and explore why independent monitoring of conditions in detention is important to ensure that the rights of detained children are upheld. Prof Anton van Kalmthout, European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), Mr Nikhil Roy, Penal Reform International (PRI), and Dr Ann Skelton, Director of the Centre for Child Law at the University of Pretoria will serve as panel speakers and provide concrete examples of how places of child detention are monitored at regional and international levels, and will outline the challenges faced by the bodies carrying out this work.
For more information on the International Conference "25 Years CRC” (programme, venue and registration, events and parallel sessions, contact), please click here.
DCI to Co-Sponsor the Event “Moving forward together…for children” at Palais Wilson in Geneva on 20 November

Save the Date CRC25DCI will co-sponsor the event “Moving forward together…for children” at Palais Wilson on 20 November in Geneva in the wake of the 25th anniversary of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Participants will include distinguished speakers, such as Ms. Flavia Pansieri, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Jorge Cardona Llorens, Member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, and Mr. Nigel Cantwell, Expert and CRC Drafting Participant. The objective is to assess the progress made since the adoption of the CRC and discuss continuing challenges and the impact of collaboration on the rights of children. There will also be video presentations on achievements over the past 25 years made through collaboration and how children’s views have a real impact on UN human rights system.
Important note: to enter Palais Wilson you must RSVP here by 10 November. More information is available on the website of Child Rights Connect.

Gender Sensitive approach: key to the fight against the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)

Gender and Ebola webFrom 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

Maa’n for Adala-Together for Justice: Regional Workshop, Cairo (Egypt), 20-22 October 2014

CairoWorkshop Oct14 DCI regional desk for the MENA region (DCI Palestine) in collaboration with the International Secretariat organised a three day workshop in Cairo, Egypt, from the 20th to the 22nd of October to discuss about the strengthening of the relationship with the League of Arab States (LAS). The meeting took place in the amazing premises of the LAS and was officially opened by H.E. Ms. Inas Mekkawy, Minister Plenipotentiary, Head of the Department for Family, Childhood and Women of the LAS.
Eight national sections and associated members from the DCI-MENA region participated to the workshop: Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, Mauritania, Yemen, Egypt, Palestine and Sudan, while expert representatives from DCI-Belgium and DCI-The Netherlands actively contributed to the discussion and shared their experience.
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DCI co-organizes event in New York to further lobby for the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)

Event NYIn light of the 69th session of the UNGA and in particular the Third Committee (which considers Children’s Rights specifically), on behalf of the NGO Panel for a Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty, DCI together with Human Rights Watch organized a high-level event on Tuesday, 14th of October in New York.  This event saw the participation of expert speakers, including: Marta Santos Pais (Special Representative to the Secretary General on Violence against Children), Kirsten Sandberg (Chairperson of the Committee on the Rights of the Child) Susan Bissell (Chief, Child Protection, UNICEF), as well as the introductory remarks of the following permanent representatives: Sheikha Alya Bint Ahmed Bin Saif Al Than (Qatar); May-Elin Stener (Norway) and Cristina Carrion (Uruguay).
read the full article
read the written statement of the NGO Panel for the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty
For more information on the Study, and background documents (advocacy brochure, Q&A, report on the expert consultation), please visit the official website.
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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 2023 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.
read the report on the side-event: Child Rights Besieged in the Middle East
read the report on the side-event: Child Rights Defenders – the fatal consequences

Unprecedented Ebola Virus Outbreak

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. 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

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.
read the full press release in EN | FR | ES | AR
Launch of a Call for a Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty
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We 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.
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.
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
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Call for a
Global Study on Children
Deprived of Liberty

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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


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