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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 46* 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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Defence for Children International calls for an immediate end to Israeli attacks that target civilian structures and violate international humanitarian law, including relevant provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Indiscriminate Israeli airstrikes have killed 46 Palestinian children since the operation began nine days ago and wounded dozens more.

Since Tuesday July 8, Israeli forces have launched at least 1,825 strikes on Gaza. The strikes have killed 202 Palestinians, 75% of whom are civilians, and injured more than 1,390 others, according to preliminary UN reports.

“The death and injury to children caused by Israel’s military offensive on Gaza demonstrates serious and extensive disregard of fundamental principles of international law,” said Rifat Kassis, executive director of DCI-Palestine. “Israeli forces must not carry out indiscriminate airstrikes in densely populated areas that fail to distinguish between military targets, civilians and civilian objects.”

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.


DCI has grown in its years and presently has 46 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.

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



PACEAlthough the CRC remains the most widely ratified convention in history - with a holistic codification of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of every child - at its quarter of a century mark, implementation gaps are preoccupying.

Progress has been particularly unbalanced with regard juvenile justice. Despite the existence of a comprehensive set of international standards – both within the child rights movement, and within the broader human rights movement - to ensure the respect of their rights, children in conflict with the law too often see their basic human rights violated and are regularly exposed to ill-treatment and violence, unaware of their inherent human rights and the possibilities to exercise them.

International and regional mechanisms affirm that the situation of children in detention is indeed alarming, as states face continuing difficulties in upholding the human rights of children in juvenile justice systems. It is in this light that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted Resolution No. 2010 (2014) on juvenile justice [...].

Read the full press release in EN / FR / ES

Read the Resolution


On 25 June 2014, the elections of nine experts serving on the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) took place in the General Assembly of the UN in New York. These elections were held to replace outgoing members of the Committee whose term expired on 28 February 2015. Elections for the Committee are usually held in December, however, at the end of 2013 it was decided to bring the elections forward by six months.

DCI welcomes the election of the following new members:

Ms. Suzanne Aho Assouma (Togo); Ms. Hynd Ayoubi Idrissi (Morocco); Mr. Joseph Clarence Nelson (Samoa); Mr. José Angel Rodríguez Reyes (Venezuela);

and congratulates the following five members for their re-election:

Mr. Jorge Cardona (Spain); Mr. Bernard Gastaud (Monaco); Mr. Hatem Kotrane (Tunisia); Mr. Gehad Madi (Egypt); Ms. Kirsten Sandberg (Norway).
(View the list of candidates with their CVs as submitted by the States parties).

Since the creation of the Committee in 1991, DCI has been working in collaboration with the body, supporting the state reviews and the stakeholders in the reviewing and monitoring processes.

We wish the new and re-elected members all the best, and bid them good luck in their first meeting during the session which will start on 25 May 2015.    
World Cup Brazil2014May the “games” begin! As the World Cup kicks off, child rights advocates are blowing the whistle on the human rights violations occurring in Brazil.
Many States succumb to major sporting events, promoting detrimental measures towards the more vulnerable members of society, in particular children; for example, poor families being evicted from their homes to build new infrastructures. Prior to the 2010 World Cup held in South Africa, families were moved to “temporary relocation areas” against their will, leaving them in very bad living conditions. Moreover, during the preliminary draw in 2007, reportedly street children had been deprived of liberty without due process of law.
Major sporting events taking place around the world put local children at risk. This is a result of social, economic, cultural, environmental and structural factors. The consequential risks children face include: forced labour, displacement, sexual exploitation and human trafficking, as well as arbitrary detention.
Read the full Press Release


DCI/ECPAT Netherlands as coordinator of a Project: “Reducing violence against children, with special focus on sexual exploitation of children and child sex tourism”

DCI Netherlands Programme Proposal Cover PageThe proposed programme, entitled “Reducing violence against children, with special focus on sexual exploitation of children and child sex tourism”, that started on 1 May, is a multi-national project aiming to ensure a greater, more effective civil society response to violence against children, such as sexual exploitation in 30 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. It is also to provide evidence-based global guidance to combat sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism. The Project is coordinated by DCI/ECPAT Netherlands and involves DCI-International Secretariat, and the regional desk for the MENA region (at DCI Palestine) and all the newly established national sections in the region.
Alongside partner civil society organisations in the targeted countries, this programme seeks to protect children from sexual violence and exploitation by providing care and socio-legal support for child victims and children at risk and by awareness- raising training. “A Global Study on child sex tourism” will be developed to analyse emerging trends of this complex and ever-worsening violation of children’s rights, which will provide concrete recommendations and guidance in addressing this issue, all supported by evidence.

Read the full Press Release

Launch of a Call for a Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty

Campaign LogoWe 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.

Despite the fact that article 37 (b) of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states that: "deprivation of liberty should be a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time", children are all too often deprived of their liberty, being exposed to increased risks of abuse, violence, acute social discrimination and denial of their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

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. Through the collection of sound evidence and reliable data, the Study would also provide a consolidation of good practices and the formulation of recommendations in order to support the work of States, UN agencies and other stakeholders to more effectively implement international standards and ensure that children deprived of their liberty have their human rights respected.
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