IAWG_squareGENEVA (29 June 2015) – For the second year in a row the IDC, together with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), convened a multi-stakeholder meeting of child rights advocates from across the UN system and key civil society organisations.

Beginning with the March 2012 session of the UN Human Rights Council, child and migrant rights advocates, with the support of the IDC and OHCHR, launched the Global Campaign to End the Immigration Detention of Children. This campaign has now been endorsed by over 90 organisations in more than 40 countries, and continues to grow.

In September 2012, at the Committee on the Rights of the Child’s (CRC Committee) 2012 Day of General Discussion, states were called upon to “expeditiously and completely” cease the immigration detention of children and their parents, and to adopt alternatives to detention (ATD) that fulfill the best interests of the child and allow children to remain with their family members and/or guardians in non-custodial, community-based contexts while their immigration status is being resolved.12

Throughout 2013, exploratory meetings were held with key stakeholders to follow up on this strong recommendation and in December 2013, initial conversations were had regarding the formation of an inter- agency working group to further develop and guide a global strategy to end child immigration detention.

In March 2014, a side-event was held at the UN Human Rights Council to explore “A Global Strategy to End Child Immigration Detention.” This side event highlighted the increasing prioritization of the issue of ending child immigration detention across a number of key UN agencies, civil society, and states, and explored opportunities for UN and civil society partners to provide support and resources to states to effectively end the immigration detention of children as an achievable priority in the coming years.

Immediately following the side event, an informal meeting was hosted by OHCHR and the International Detention Coalition to discuss possible collaboration. The parties agreed to form an Inter-Agency Working Group to End Child Immigration Detention in order to more effectively collaborate on ending child immigration detention. Initial parties to this conversation included:

  • Caritas Internationalis
  • Human Rights Watch
  • International Detention Coalition
  • IOM
  • Office of the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants
  • Office of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
  • Terre des Hommes

This Inter-Agency Working Group to End Child Immigration Detention is now working together on a global strategy towards ending immigration detention of children within a 5 year framework.

For more details, email [email protected]