As stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the dispositions of the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of Children, and other rights established in current international instruments, children are people, and thus entitled to the same rights as all human beings. Children have specific needs; they are a collective who is especially vulnerable to the violation of fundamental rights; therefore, children have the right to additional protection from the International Community, nation states, society, and their families.
DEFENCE FOR CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL (DCI) affirms that all children must be respected and that their basic rights must be guaranteed, without any discrimination whatsoever, independent of their ethnicity, sex, language, religion or any other type of personal or family condition.
In recognition of the aforementioned principles, on July 5, 1979 during the International Year of Children, Movimiento Defensa de los Niños Internacional was founded in Geneva, Switzerland; the organization was later instituted with the name DEFENCE FOR CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL (DCI), known in Spanish as DEFENSA DE NIÑAS Y NIÑOS -INTERNACIONAL (DNI).
Statement of Principles
The DEFENCE FOR CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL (DCI) movement abides by the following principles:
• The best interests of the child.
• The understanding that the rights of children and adolescents are Human Rights.
• The Integral Protection Doctrine as a conceptual and political framework to advocate for the rights of children and adolescents.
• The participation of children and adolescents as an essential requisite to the full exercise of their citizenship.
• The promotion and defense of life and peace.
• The quest for a new international economic order.
• Generational and intercultural gender equality.
• Inter-institutional and inter-sectorial coordination as a privileged link of synergic action for the exercise and safeguarding of the rights of children and adolescents, and basis to monitor the actions of the State and private organizations.
• The co-responsibility of State, Society, Community and Family as a guiding principle in all of its interventions.
• It views the rights of children and adolescents from a development perspective, which implies different levels of action: political, social, community and family-based and in collaboration with children and adolescents.
FIRST TITLE: Generalities
Art. 1 (Constitution and Denomination). - DEFENCE FOR CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL, whose acronym is “DCI”, is an independent, international organization created on July 5, 1979. It abides by the rules set forth in this statute and the provisions of articles 60 and those following of the Swiss Civil Code related to non-profit associations.
Art. 2 (Address and Duration).- The headquarters of DEFENCE FOR CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL (DCI) is the city of Geneva – Republic of Switzerland - Helvetica Confederation; it may have national sections in different countries. DCI has an indefinite term of operation and may only be dissolved in event of the cases expressly determined by law and by the present Statute.
Art. 3 (Goal).- The goal of DEFENCE FOR CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL (DCI), is to promote the full exercise of the fundamental individual and collective human rights of children in the international community and in nation states.
Art. 4 (Objectives). - The general objectives of DEFENCE FOR CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL (DCI) are the following:
• To provide an institutional point of reference for local, national and international efforts oriented toward promoting, protecting, defending and developing the rights of all children, by influencing national and international legislation.
• To guarantee that in the event that a child’s rights are threatened, restricted or violated, the affected child will have easy and immediate access to optimal mechanisms of protection, defense and safekeeping.
• To create forms of massive social and educational communication which promote debate and sensitize the public to the realities of childhood and adolescence, helping to generate public opinon.
• To implement projects and actions destined to protect the rights of children directly and effectively, specifically in those problematic areas not safeguarded by other organizations.
• To develop national and international strategies for interpellation and public denunciation of the infringements on the individual and collective rights of children.
• To promote spaces in which children have the opportunity to act as protagonists in societies and communities, to participate in decision making processes which involve them, as well as to create decent lives for themselves.
• To carry out follow-up activities to inspect the design and implementation of policies, laws and other provisions related to childhood.
Art. 5 (Non-profit nature).- The non-profit nature of DEFENCE FOR CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL (DCI) lies in the fact that the resources and income it obtains for its projects are not to be distributed among its associates and are consolidated as patrimony of the organization to carry out its activities and achieve its objectives.
SECOND TITLE: Regimen of the Association
Chapter I: Regarding the International Association
Art. 6 (Definition).- The associates of DEFENCE FOR CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL (DCI) are natural, legal, individual or collective persons who have been accepted as members of the association and who have not lost their status as such, according to the present statute.
Art. 7 (Requisites for admission).- Every new associate of DEFENCE FOR CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL (DCI) shall be recognized as such according to the vote of at least two thirds of the General Assembly. The general requisites for all persons or entities to be admitted are that they:
• Support and promote the spirit and content of the objectives of DEFENCE FOR CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL (DCI).
• Accept and promote the Declaration of the Rights of Children and the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of the Child and its optional protocols.
• Engage in the promotion of the activities of the movement through active participation in the projects carried out by the organization.
• Contribute financially towards the development of the Movement, with the regular payment of ordinary and extraordinary fees.
Chapter II: Regarding national sections.
Art. 8 (The National Sections).- The national sections are those institutional representatives of DEFENCE FOR CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL (DCI) in a determined country and are constituted exclusively as such.
Art. 9 (Requisites).- The general requisites for a section to be fully recognized as such are:
• The constitution of a national association that complies with the institutional principles and guidelines, and has the sole purpose of complying with the objectives of DEFENCE FOR CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL (DCI).
• The approval of the statute by the International Executive Council.
• The implementation of approved policies and actions for one year.
• To have a minimum of ten members.
Art. 10 (Organization).- Every national section will be created according to the criteria and guidelines of the national jurisdiction, but subjected to the guiding principles and policies of DEFENCE FOR CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL (DCI).
No more than one section may exist in each country, unless its creation is authorized by the International Executive Council due to extraordinary and duly qualified conditions.
Art. 11 (Rights).- The rights of the national sections are:
• To transmit resolution proposals on the actions of the movement or amendments to the international statute to the General Assembly, by means of the International Secretariat.
• To request technical and financial assistance from the International Secretariat in order to achieve institutional objectives.
• To have a representative with voice and vote in the International General Assembly.
• To withdraw from the movement after presenting a written request and complying with statutory obligations.
Art. 12 (Obligations).- The obligations of the national sections are:
• Pay an annual fee.
• Present narrative, economic and external auditing reports annually.
• Present proposals to the International General Assembly three months before it take place.
• Coordinate and collaborate with the International Secretariat.
• In order to have the right to vote, the section must pay the ordinary and extraordinary fees by December 31 st before the General Assembly begins, and have presented, if applicable, a triennial activities report.
Chapter III: Associated members and sympathizers
Art. 13 (Definition).- An associated member of DEFENCE FOR CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL (DCI) is a national or international organization that does not have the full status of a national section, but complies with and works for the institutional objectives. This type of member lacks an organic bond to the movement and requests accreditation.
Art. 14 (Admission).- The admission of an associated member may be carried out directly by the International Executive Council in a country in which no section exists. When the request is made from a country in which a section does exist, the respective section must be consulted.
Art. 15 (Requisites).- The necessary requisites in order to be recognized as an associated member are.
• To present an ascription request in which the candidate accepts to adhere to the principles and goals of DEFENCE FOR CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL (DCI).
• To consult, if necessary, the corresponding national section.
• To gain the approval of the International Executive Council.
• To implement an annual work plan that is compatible with inter-institutional work.
• To have a minimum active working staff of five members.
Art. 16 (Rights).- The rights of the associated members are:
• To form a section after two years of effective work in the country of origin.
• To receive support and assistance in actions that comply with the institutional objectives.
• To suggest resolution proposals to the International General Assembly, through the International Secretariat.
• To speak at the International General Assembly.
• To renounce one’s ascription after presenting a written letter and complying with statutory obligations.
Art. 17 (Obligations) - The obligations of the associated members are:
• To pay an annual fee.
• To send activity reports to the International Secretariat, and if a member receives money from the Movement to execute projects, it must present the annual financial reports, periodical reports and the audit stipulated by the project.
• To acknowledge in all of their documentation that they are associated members of DCI.
• To support the movement and the International Secretariat
• To participate directly in the International General Assembly or, at least, delegate representation.
• To suggest proposals to the International General Assembly three months in advance.
Art. 18 (Sympathizers).- The sympathizers are persons who are ascribed individually as such to DEFENCE FOR CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL (DCI), when in their respective countries of origin there are no sections or institutions that are associated members. Their interaction with the movement is carried out through the International Secretariat.
The obligations and activities of the sympathizing members are described in the Internal Regulations.
Chapter IV: Regarding exclusion
Art. 19 (Suspension and withdrawal).- An institution or individual's loss of their status as Associate, National Section, Associate Member or sympathizer is a disciplinary measure which may be ruled temporarily by the International Executive Council, as long as an International General Assembly confirms or revokes the measure in final instance.
Art. 20 (Applicable norms).- In order to enforce a disciplinary measure, the relevant statute -determined according to the role of the relevant institution or individual- applicable at the moment of the sanctioned act will be used. At the international level, the present statute is applicable; at the section level, the corresponding national statute will be employed; in other cases, a statute will be applied according to the type of ascription a member has.
Art. 21 (Appealing) .- All of the sanctions may be appealed institutionally or individually to the immediate higher instance. If the decision is taken by the International Executive Council or a General Section Assembly, the appeal will be presented to an International General Assembly.
The ruling of the appeal is definitive and does not allow any further recourse.
THIRD TITLE: Regarding the Organs and Functioning.
Chapter I: Regarding the organs and structure.
Art. 22 (Organs and structure).- DEFENCE FOR CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL (DCI) has a hierarchical and functional organic structure whereby all its organs and components are structured in the following order of precedence:
• International General Assembly
• International Executive Council
• International Secretariat
Art. 23 (International General Assembly).- The International General Assembly of DEFENCE FOR CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL (DCI) is the highest authority, deliberating organ and decision maker, that works to achieve the most important and transcendental acts of the organization and, therefore, of the movement.
It is formed by the representatives of all the members. The quorum requires the presence of at least three fifths of the national sections who are entitled to vote, recognized and legitimately represented.
Art. 24 (Ordinary or Extraordinary Meeting).- The International General Assembly ordinarily meets every three years. It also meets in extraordinary cases by summons of the International Executive Council, or at the request of one fifth (20%) of the sections entitled to vote. In the latter case the session must be held in the six months following the demand.
The invitations to all of the members must be sent at least three months in advance.
Art. 25 (Attributions of the International General Assembly).- The General Assembly of DEFENCE FOR CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL (DCI), as the highest authority of the institution, is sovereign and can assume or distribute powers and rights it considers necessary, according to the norms of this Statute. Its particular attributions are:
• To examine and make a ruling on the reports of the Committee of Accreditations.
• Elect the President of the Assembly.
• Consider and approve the Order of the Day, or agenda, proposed by the International Executive Committee.
• Approve the admission of new members or withdrawal of others.
• Determine the Movement’s plan, its general policies and its collective activities.
• Appoint the Committees that will be in effect until the next International General Assembly.
• Approve the budget for the next triennium and define the criteria used to determine the fees of different members of the Movement.
• Revise and approve proposals and amendments to the statute and regulations of the DCI.
• Elect the President, Treasurer and the rest of the members of the International Executive Council.
• Determine the dissolution of the DCI by two thirds majority of able voters and the regulated quorum.
Art. 26 (The International Executive Council).- The International Executive Council is the Movement’s governing authority in the interregnum between General Assemblies. It is made up of a maximum of 13 persons, representatives of at least 10 countries, and a minimum of 7 persons, each from a different country and representing the four regions acknowledged in institutional geography: Europe, Asia-Middle East-Australia, Africa, and America. In the event that the President is ill or impeded in any way, the Council will elect a substitute from its Vice-presidents.
The essential requisites to be elected to any executive position of the International Executive Council are:
• To have been part of the movement for a minimum of six years
• To have not worked in governmental positions.
• To have been an active member of and expressed support for your national section.
• To not have exercised executive functions in the IEC consecutively during the two previous periods.
Art. 27 (Attributions and responsibilities).- The International Executive Council is responsible for the execution of plans, policies and activities that have been approved by the International General Assembly in ordinary or extraordinary sessions. Besides complying with this general responsibility, the council must:
• Develop and approve the Internal Regulation of the Movement.
• Elect the Secretary General.
• Approve and support the realization of worldwide or regional projects.
• Approve the triennial strategic plan developed by the international secretariat.
• Set the annual fees for all of the members, based on the guidelines approved by the International General Assembly.
• Review and approve the annual reports of the International Secretariat.
• Review and approve the financial reports presented by the Treasury every six months.
• Develop the movement's political relations.
• Collect technical and financial resources.
• Present an activity report of the term carried out and send it to all of the sections two months before an International General Assembly is carried out.
• Create a permanent Technical Support Team.
• Acknowledge the creation of structures of regional representation and coordination of the national sections, in compliance with the regionalization recognized by the movement.
• Name an Advising Council constituted by a maximum of three members.
• Create permanent or temporary linking offices.
Art. 28 (Requisite to be a directive member of the council).- To be a candidate elected to a directional post of the International Executive Council, it is necessary to have worked in a national section for a minimum of six years.
Art. 29 (Election Committee).- An election committee is designated by the International Executive Council, in order to receive and carry out the necessary consultations to present the proposed candidates. Its work must be completed one year before the General Assembly is held and presented in writing.
Art. 30 (Resolution).- The International Executive Council makes decisions by simple majority vote of at least 50% of its present or represented members. Representation can only be delegated to an appointed colleague through the written power of attorney.
Art. 31 (International Secretariat).- The International Secretariat is the technical and administrative organ of DEFENCE FOR CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL (DCI), that works to accomplish its plans, programs and activities. It answers directly to the Secretary General.
Chapter II: Functional Structure.
Art. 32 (The Presidency).- The President of the Movement and the International Executive Council have the following attributions and responsibilities:
• Direct the Movement.
• Preside over the International Executive Council.
• Represent DCI at the political and legal levels.
• Open the International General Assembly
• Have the definitive vote in case of tie.
• Fulfill other tasks assigned by the International General Assembly or the International Executive Council.
• Maintain political relations with donors.
• Delegate exceptionally the legal power to sign all official documents to one member of the IEC, through the power of attorney.
Art. 33 (The Treasurer).- The Treasurer, along with the President and Secretary General, is responsible for the treasury. Its functions are:
• Manage the economic and financial resources of the movement;
• Establish the term budget and draw up the end of year financial statement.
• Demand the payment of annual fees from the sections and associates.
• Supervise the budget and the expenses of the International Secretariat.
• Present an activity and financial report for every term to the International Executive Council and the sections and respond to any demands for supplementary information with prior approval of the Presidency.
The Treasurer cannot exercise its functions for more than six consecutive years.
Art. 34 (Secretary General).- The Secretary General has operative and administrative responsibility for the execution of the directives of the International General Assembly, the International Executive Council and the Presidency of DEFENCE FOR CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL (DCI).
In coordination with the President, the Treasurer shares responsibility for appointing the staff of the International Secretariat, supervising the regional offices and DCI programs, as well as developing projects to obtain funds to aid the functioning of the International Executive Council and the International Secretariat.
It drafts reports whenever required by the International Executive Council and also drafts the annual activity and general reports used to carry out the International General Assembly. In handling reports of economic-financial relevance, it must coordinate efforts with the Treasurer.
The Secretary General may not hold the position for more than three consecutive terms.
Art. 35 (Instances of permanent and special support).-
Within the framework of its attributions, the International Executive Council can decide the creation and recognition of authorities of technical support, coordination, council, and liason. Their functions and characteristics are as follows:
• The permanent Technical Support Team is designated by the international executive council and its function is to develop studies and technical suggestions on specific subjects required in this instance.
• The instances of regional representation are created according to the needs and initiative of the sections of a region: they democratically elect the representative national section and act as a link between the region and the International Executive Council, through the International Secretariat.
• The Advising Council's functions are to support the work of the International Executive Council on special subjects, and to serve as a neutral authority for the resolution of conflicts.
• The Liason Office’s functions include the development of institutional work in cities or regions that are far from the official headquarters of the movement and that require special attention.
FOURTH TITLE: Regarding Special Dispositions
Chapter I: On Patrimonial and Financial Regulations.
Art. 36 (Institutional Patrimony).- The patrimony of DEFENCE FOR CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL (DCI) shall be legally registered under the name of DCI and shall specifically have the following possessions:
• Real estate or other types of property and goods, acquired under whatever name, it has or shall acquire in the future.
• Incomes, rents, stocks, shares, rights and immaterial property that DCI may or will possess.
• The contributions of its members and the payment for services rendered within the framework of its activities.
Art. 37 (Contracts and agreements).- All contracts and agreements of patrimonial nature must be subscribed by the President, Treasurer and the General Secretary.
Art. 38 (Financial Management).- All incomes and properties of DCI shall be used exclusively to carry out the goals and objectives of the Movement, and will be used in the context of legally approved plans, budgets, and obligations.
Art. 39 (Institutional Responsibility).- The obligations contracted, legally and correctly, by the legitimate representatives of DCI are guaranteed exclusively by the goods registered under the international secretariat's name.
Art. 40 (Patrimonial Withdrawal and Consolidation).- An associate, of whatever nature, who for whatever reason withdraws or is withdrawn from the DCI has absolutely no right to exercise any claim or request economic devolution, participation or compensation from the organization.
Art. 41 (Financial year).- The financial year of DEFENCE FOR CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL (DCI) begins on January 1 st and ends on December 31 st.
Chapter II: Statute Reform, languages and dissolution
Art. 42 (Internal procedure).- The present statute may only be modified by the International General Assembly, following a meeting in which the subject must be expressly mentioned and with approval of at least 2/3 of the members present at the Assembly. The modification shall be in effect following the day of its approval.
Chapter III: Languages
Art. 43 (Languages used).- DEFENCE FOR CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL (DCI) officially and regularly uses three languages in all of its work documents: English, Spanish and French. The International Secretariat shall provide written and oral services in these three languages, according to its possibilities.
Chapter IV: Dissolution
Art. 44 (Procedure).- Since DCI has an indefinite term of duration, its dissolution can only be achieved by summoning an International General Assembly specifically to discuss this issue a minimum of 90 days before the meeting takes place and gaining the approval of at least 2/3 of the total members, according to the most updated register.
Art. 45 (Liquidation).- Once the dissolution of DCI is agreed upon, the same International General Assembly shall name a committee that shall proceed to implement the liquidation of the active and passive resources, and, once all dues and charges are paid, whatever remains shall be donated to an institution or institutions with similar goals and objectives as DCI. The beneficiaries’ choice shall be carried out through a resolution of no less than two thirds of the assisting members present at the International General Assembly that determined the dissolution and in accordance with Swiss legislation.
Art. 46 Transitory (Electronic vote by internet or fax).- In order to do a consultation and make the decisions demanded by the CEI, an electronic vote will be put into effect for qualified sections. This vote must be requested a minimum of ten working days in advance, according to the schedule of the International Office.
The vote will only be counted if there is a registered signature and email address, and if the vote conforms with the format.