DCI is an independent non-governmental
organisation set up during the International
Year of the Child (1979) to ensure
on-going, practical, systematic and
concerted international action
specially directed towards
promoting and protecting the
rights of the child.
Defence for Children International (DCI) is an international children's rights movement that has been active at the local, national and international levels for some 20 years now.
DCI - a non-governmental and non-profit organization - was born in July 1979. The movement was founded by Nigel Cantwell and Canon Moerman, the chair of the International Year of the Child, at a time when children's rights were not the main focus of many organizations. The International Year of the Child instigated the dissemination of an unprecedented amount of information about children's rights violations such as torture, prostitution, economic exploitation, arbitrary detention, and trafficking and sale. DCI was established in direct response to the lack of international structures dedicated to a human rights-based approach to the multi-faceted problems faced by the world's children.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child
DCI mobilized the NGO community to become actively involved in the drafting process of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The resulting NGO Ad Hoc Group, established in mid-1983, contributed a great deal to the Convention's final text. In 1987, the NGO Ad Hoc Group joined with UNICEF in publicly promoting the objective of having the Convention ready for adoption by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1989.
Following the unanimous adoption of the Convention by the General Assembly on 20 November 1989, DCI sections successfully lobbied their governments to ratify the new Convention. DCI sections were often the first to take the initiative of making an NGO Alternative Report for the Committee on the Rights of Child, or to initiate national coalitions.
DCI continues to defend the Convention on the Rights of the Child by monitoring its actual implementation and systematic application by States parties.
DCI developed into a worldwide network through the creation of national sections, since 1985, and the establishment of partnerships with associated members.
Through its sections, DCI sets up concrete programmes to promote and protect the rights of children.
DCI also works on specific children's rights concerns through the creation of international programmes such as the International Network on Juvenile Justice (INJJ) and the Child Labour Desk. It is a member of the NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers.
DCI submits effective interventions at the United Nations, thanks to the reliable information received from the field. DCI is in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), UNICEF, UNESCO and the Council of the Europe.
Laureate of the human rights award
GEUZENPENNING 2003 in remembrance of the first Dutch Resistance Group