Campaign launched March 21, 2012
The Global Campaign to End Immigration Detention of Children was launched on the 21st of March this year at the 19th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. IDC invited various specialists to speak on the issue and presented a policy paper, ‘Captured Childhood’ that outlines a new model for preventing the immigration detention of children.
Human Right organisations and other NGOs who support the position outlined in the report Captured Childhood can sign up using the online form.
Individuals can support the campaign through the two petitions at www.endchilddetention.org.
The IDC has found that the detention of children is widespread, even if it is difficult to quantify. In a recent survey of 21 countries on detention issues, the IDC found that there is an increase globally in the use of migration-related detention, with many countries continuing to detain migrant, asylum seeker and refugee children. Reports included children being detained in closed refugee camps, alongside convicted criminals in jails or in immigration detention centres. Many children are unaccompanied or are separated from their caregivers where they may be vulnerable to sexual abuse and lack of adequate medical care and education.
Children themselves speak of the hardship they endure in immigration detention. The literature highlights, among other things, the physical, psychological and emotional harms associated with detaining children. The goal of immigration control can be better achieved and with fewer harms by seeking not to detain children. The paper concludes with a step-by-step guide to how to avoid detaining children for immigration purposes. Conceptually, this would require that states commit to the following three principles:
- Undocumented child migrants are, first and foremost, children.
- The best interests of the child will be a primary consideration in any action taken in relation to the child.
- That the liberty of the child is a fundamental human right.
Building a global campaign
The global campaign to end the detention of children is open to all organisations who wish to support alternatives to child detention. The campaign uses international meetings such as the Human Rights Council to lobby governments, but equally make use regional forums. At the national we will build up momentum in a number of focus countries such as Mexico, the United States, Malaysia, Australia, Kenya and the Ukraine. However the campaign will provide a number of tools, such as video testimonies and petitions that can be used everywhere. The campaign also wants to involve countries such as Belgium or Japan who have stopped child detention in law or in policy as examples for others.
Let us know if your organisation wants to formally endorse the campaign by filling out the endorsement form. If you are interested but need more information, do send us an email.
If you can share data via the crowdmap or examples about immigration detention of children in your country please do.
Download a formal letter asking organisation to endorse this campaign.
Request to endorse the global campaign to end the immigration detention of children (English)
Appel au soutien: Campagne mondiale pour mettre fin à la détention d’enfants (French)
Llamada de apoyo IDC (Spanish)