What does DCI do ?

The overall goal of DCI�s international programme on juvenile justice is �to make the situation of children and juvenile justice in the world known internationally, promoting actions that aim to include juvenile justice as a priority item on political agendas on an international, regional and national level and which aims to strengthen national juvenile justice systems, guaranteeing the rights of children and adolescents in conflict with the law,�:

DCI action to defend the rights of these children takes many practical forms:

Click on the links below for more information:

 Lobbying and Advocacy

Internationally, Defence for Children International has applied its expertise in standard setting to the drafting of relevant international instruments. In addition to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, DCI assisted in the drafting of the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (Beijing Rules, 1985), the UN Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency (Riyadh Guidelines, 1990) and the UN Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty (Havana Rules, 1990).

During the International Conference �Kids Behind Bars� held in Bethlehem (30th June-2nd July 2005), Defence for Children International launched the �No Kids Behind Bars!� Global Campaign, whose main objective is to reduce the number of children in detention, by promoting the development and implementation of National Action Plans by governments. For more information about the campaign please go to: www.kidsbehindbars.org .

Defence for Children International participates in major international forums such as the United Nations Human Rights Council, the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and the United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, in order to lobby and raise awareness on the rights of children in conflict with the law and especially those deprived of their liberty.

Direct Intervention

  In several countries, Defence for Children International has set up socio-legal defence centers where lawyers with expertise in children�s rights provide legal defence for children and their families, who do not have the means to defend themselves. Typically, DCI socio-legal defence centers are staffed by lawyers, social workers, psychologists, and children�s rights activists who work together on behalf of children and their families in need of protection, whether in relation to courts of law, the police, the army, or other forms of authority. The socio-legal defence centers have also enabled DCI to offer training courses to juvenile justice professionals and extensively expand its implementation of awareness raising campaigns and training courses, further deepening public understanding of children�s rights. Between 2002 and 2004, Defence for Children International implemented a project involving 7 socio-legal defence centers in Albania, Bolivia, Colombia, Ghana, Macedonia, Sri-Lanka and Uganda.

  Currently, Defence for Children International is implementing a regional project on juvenile justice in Latin America. The project is implemented in 8 countries of the region, namely: Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay and Uruguay. The regional project aims to strengthen juvenile justice systems in the Latin American region and incite institutional policies for the reduction of penal violence, bringing regional practices inline with articles 37 and 40 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The 4 main components of the justice system addressed through this programme are: legisation; alternative measures; training; social sensitisation.

DCI Americas recently published a short booklet on the experience of this first phase of the project.  Please click here to download a copy in Spanish. For further background and future steps of the Latin American Regional Programme, please click here.

  Defence for Children International is now developing a similar regional programme in Africa.  As a first preparatory activity, a regional consultation meeting in Nairobi, Kenya took place in October 2006.  The purpose of this meeting was to map the main problems in Africa and to develop a strategic plan of action for the Regional Programme in Africa, which will be used by DCI national sections to develop national plans of action.


  Defence for Children International attends the sessions of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. At the end of each session, a comprehensive report is prepared, based on the official country report, NGO alternative reports and concluding observations of the Committee members. Click here to view the DCI reports on the sessions of the CRC Committee.

  DCI�s national sections regularly prepare and present alternative reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Networking and information sharing

  Defence for Children International is a member of the Sub-group on Juvenile Justice, a thematic sub-group of the NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child. This sub-group is a thematic and coordinating forum for national, regional and international NGOs and professionals working in the field of juvenile justice.

  Defence for Children International is an active member of the NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

  Defence for Children International is one of the founding organisations of the Child Rights Information Network (CRIN): www.crin.org .

  Defence for Children International is a member of the Inter-agency Panel on Juvenile Justice. Established by a 1997 ECOSOC Resolution, the Panel aims to bring together policies, projects and activities among international governmental organizations and international non-governmental organizations engaged with national authorities in juvenile justice reform. The work of the Panel is guided by the relevant provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, other relevant international standards and the recommendations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. In order to access the website of the Panel, please click here

  On a bi-monthly basis, Defence for Children International publishes a comprehensive electronic newsletter with relevant information on the latest developments, publications and events in the area of juvenile justice. In order to subscribe to the DCI juvenile justice e-newsletter, please click here.

Research and documentation of Children�s Rights

  DCI carries out research to identify violations of children�s rights and build up more comprehensive assessments of the state of juvenile justice systems in individual countries. 

  DCI�s International Secretariat in Geneva, features a resource center that contains one of the most extensive collections of published material on all aspects relating to children�s rights in the world. In order to have more information about the resource center, please click here.

 Juvenile Justice
  What is Juvenile Justice ?
  What is the global situation ?
  What does DCI do ?
  International Instruments
  Contacts / Newsletter