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35th Anniversary of DCI


Defence for Children International (DCI) @35

Celebrating Achievements & Recognising Challenges


Today, 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 47 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.

Currently, DCI is calling for a Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty; in March 2014, DCI launched this campaign with numerous other non-governmental organisations and the support of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. As the situation of children in detention around the world remains extremely worrisome, DCI and other signatories of the Call are urging members of the United Nations General Assembly to request that the United Nations Secretary-General undertake this Study, in order to collect sound evidence and reliable data on children in detention worldwide.

Alongside DCI’s anniversary, 2014 also marks the beginning of a DCI International Secretariat (DCI-IS) project: “TOGETHER FOR JUSTICE: how Human Rights Defenders can uphold their action in defending child rights in the justice system”. The main goal of the project is to improve the overall situation of children involved in the justice system by empowering child rights advocates of DCI working in over 46 countries around the world to effectively protect and promote the rights of children. More specifically, and in accordance with the DCI’s strategic plan of action for the years 2012-2016, DCI-IS aims to enhance the capacity of human rights defenders of the DCI Movement on the international, regional and national human rights mechanisms (especially related to justice for children), in order to effectively advocate for children’s rights on all levels and through the support of DCI Regional Desks located in Europe (Brussels), MENA region (Palestine), Americas (Uruguay) and Africa (Sierra Leone). This year, in addition, we will be launching a new DCI International Secretariat website, which will be shared very soon with all DCI friends, colleagues, supporters and viewers.

Among the numerous ongoing projects of DCI, we are pleased to highlight “Children’s Rights Behind Bars. Human rights of children deprived of liberty: improving monitoring mechanisms” lead by DCI Belgium, with the involvement of several other organisations from EU member states and including DCI France, DCI Italy and DCI Netherlands. The goal of this initiative is to assess monitoring and complaint systems in child detention institutions around Europe; following the clear lack of guidelines and criteria to properly monitor living and detention conditions of incarcerated children.

Another project we are pleased to highlight is: “Reducing violence against children, with special focus on sexual exploitation of children and child sex tourism”, coordinated by DCI /ECPAT Netherlands and involving also DCI-IS, and the regional desk for the MENA region (at DCI Palestine) and all the newly established national sections in the region. This project aims to ensure effective civil society response to violence against children, providing global and evidence-based guidance to combat sexual exploitation of children, particularly in travel and tourism.

The African region continues to work on the Kampala Conference follow-up in collaboration with African Child Policy Forum, focusing the work on strengthening the role of the Guidelines on child-friendly justice within the work of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC); it also continues to run its Girl Power Project (in ten different countries), which aims to provide equal opportunities for girls and young women.

DCI national sections of Latin America continue to work on their regional programme: the establishment of the Regional Observatory on Juvenile Justice (funded by the European Union), with the objective to provide reliable quantitative and qualitative information of the functioning of the juvenile justice systems in eight countries where DCI has national sections: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Paraguay and Uruguay.

A deep gratitude to everyone who believed in the movement and has supported it throughout the years. With your continued support, we will keep striving to uphold the human rights of the younger members of society.

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

read the press release in FR | ES | AR

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