As an international child rights advocacy movement, Defence for Children has 47 sections worldwide, with their own achievements.
DCI-Yemen: one of the most successful stories for the Democracy School (DCI) Yemen is the Children’s Parliament, which is considered to be one of the best experiences at the Middle Eastern level. The Children’s Parliament began in 2002 and continues today. Elections take place every two years in schools in all provinces of Yemen where every three months children hold sessions to discuss a number of important issues, the most important of which will be the recommendations from Geneva. Moreover, children are working on raising awareness and surveys to evaluate the situation of children.
DCI-Ghana: with the support of the UN Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Slavery, DCI-Ghana undertook a Socio-legal Assistance project to improve the lives of 41 Illegally Adopted Children and Child Domestic Labourers (29 girls and 12 boys) in Accra, Kumasi, and Akrokerri from 2000 – 2001. With the support of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, DCI-Ghana, through a socio-legal defence centre project from 2003 to 2004, protected the rights of 512 children through socio-legal assistance, 80% of the beneficiaries were girls.
DCI-Belgium carried out information sessions through awareness raising and training on the rights of the child to different members of the public. Additionally, they denounced the serious violations of the human rights of children and urged for these violations to be stopped. They received several judicial decisions for advancing the cause of children, both for their protection and for judicial process to take the necessary legal actions in order to stop the violations. DCI-Belgium with other partners, including UNICEF-Belgium, obtained information about children on the move who were detained in closed centres and have fought for the respect of justice for minors and the priority to an educational response. DCI-Belgium is a key player in the defence of the rights of the child in Belgium, and through their expertise, have become a partner with public authorities. This DCI national section carried out information sessions through awareness raising and training on the rights of the child by denouncing serious violations of the rights of migrant children who were found to not benefit from the full respect of their right to healthcare, school, and daycare. After that decision, the state of Belgium had to find suitable hosts for every migrant child entering Belgian territory.
DCI-Palestine documented 1405 Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces and settlers over the past 13 years, and 21 cases of Palestinian children used as human shields since 2004, among other violations. These included between 120 to 140 cases per year in Israeli military courts and 80 to 90 cases in Palestinian courts. DCI-Palestine has trained and built the capacities of around 160 law enforcement officials, including police officers, prosecutors, probation officers & judges, and have empowered and built the capacities of about 150 community-based civil society organisations on average per year. Other achievements including contributing to Palestinian legislation on the Draft Juvenile Protection Law and amendments to the Child Law, being the only civil society organisation in the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, and being ranked by Forbes Middle East as one of the top 30 ‘Most Transparent Charities in the MENA Region,’ and second in Palestine.
DCI-Nigera: Defence for Children International - Nigeria has continued to try its best to remain relevant in spite of the various challenges militating against its operations. In the last few years, we have been able to come into strategic partnership with the Department for International Development (DFID) through its Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN) as well as the Lagos State government. The partnership, entering its 5th year, has helped to place DCI-Nigeria as a relevant organisation when it comes to education development and child participation in that country.
DCI-USA: Professor Michele Goodwin along with civil society leaders established the US office of DCI two years ago. In 2013, DCI-US, one of the youngest offices within the DCI umbrella, launched a campaign to combat violence against children and to address children in the criminal justice system. In 2013, DCI-US partnered to host congresses on human trafficking, child placement and adoption, family law, and civil rights. Programmatically, DCI-US will partner with civil society organisations to host meetings on children and violence. These series of meetings, which will take place in California, Chicago, and New York, will focus on various forms of violence and exploitation directed at children.
DCI-Morocco have been involved in a series of current projects including the establishment of a medical and psychosocial rehabilitation process, the goal of which was to globally analyse the situation of a child in order to create an individual approach for each case. Another project was the Réseau de Jeunes Sans Frontières, which explores subjects such as citizenship, children’s rights, etc. through research. Currently, 30 girls and boys aged between 15 and 25 contribute to various research projects and the national and international debate on child rights issues. Additionally, in 2013, DCI-Morocco launched the process of drafting an alternative report for the third and fourth report of Morocco for the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. DCI-Morocco contributed to protests against child labour of small girls through awareness-raising campaigns on the murder of small girls.
DCI-Bolivia is currently working on implementing 6 major projects in the Departments of La Paz, Cochabama and Oruro, as well as one in the national level. These projects involve the issues of prevention from all forms of violence against children, adolescents and young women, promotion of the socio-political organisation and participation, as well as, public presence of children, adolescents and young women. DCI-Bolivia is also working on the establishment of a National system of Juvenile Justice, in compliance with the International standards.
DCI-Switzerland is currently invested in a juvenile justice programme collaborating with the International Secretariat (DCI-IS). This national section of DCI also campaigned to raise awareness on how the lack of financial and human resources allocated to the juvenile justice system influences the conditions of children in detention. More precisely, it was highlighted, how ill-equipped detention centres are for children and how this violated children’s rights and ignores their specific protection needs.
DCI-Costa Rica has promoted proactively the IV World Congress on Child and Adolescents Rights that was held between 12th and 14th of November 2014 in Puebla, Mexico, with the support of Save the Children and Red NATIC, with representatives of a wide range of associations and institutions specialising in children’s rights issues. This Congress had a special focus on the ratification of the 3rd Optional Protocol of the CRC, and the necessary end of violence against children. DCI-Costa Rica’s next project is the Launch of the campaign on “The 20 Civic Commitments for the Child and Adolescents’ Rights” in December 2014.
DCI-The Netherlands is continuously campaigning for the rights of children on the move in The Netherlands, even though, in 2013, a long awaited regulation passed stating that children who have lived in The Netherlands for longer than five years are allowed a residence permit if they have not yet received one. Although this has brought relief to a great number of children, there is still a group of children that, unrightfully so, does not fall within the scope of the regulation. Recently, DCI-The Netherlands has been granted an important project directed towards strengthening the protection of children vulnerable to sexual exploitation. This, together with the decentralisation of youth care to the local governments, will require continuous monitoring and will surely keep us busy in the years ahead.