side event

As global migration grows exponentially, a strategy for one of our most vulnerable populations is necessary.

This was the message from the IDC side event held at the with the support of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) at the 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Entitled “A Global Strategy to End Immigration Detention of Children” the session discussed  strategies for assisting states to “expeditiously and completely” end child immigration detention consistent with their CRC obligations.

Opening remarks from Ms. Jyoti Sanghera, Chief, Human Rights and Economic and Social Issues Section, OHCHR,  emphasised the importance of this issue in light of the Human Rights Council’s decision to dedicate the 25th session annual day of discussion on children’s rights to the theme of “access to justice for children”.

Child Rights Researcher, Alice Farmer, from Human Rights watch highlighted that every day thousands of children are locked up in immigration detention; a practice that has been proven to have profound and negative impacts on child health and development. She spoke profoundly from first hand experience about interviewing a young girl who had been detained in Thailand and resettled in the US.

The Coordinator of the Global Campaign to End Child Detention, Leeanne Torpey, nted that this event marked the second birthday of the Campaign, having launched in 2012 at the Human Rights Council.  Ms. Torpey also spoke about the achievements of the campaign and target countries for 2014, calling for the campaign to be utilised as a key focal point for the global strategy currently under development.

Seconding thoughts shared during the main session of the Human Rights Council, Ms. Nicolette Moodie, Human Rights and Gender Liaison Officer, Gender and Rights Unit, UNICEF emphasised that for the first time the Global Campaign was a focal point for the UN treaty body.

Ms. Janice Marshall, Deputy Director, Law and Policy, UNHCR drew on the the UN CRC statement that

 “Children should not be criminalised or subject to punitive measures because of their or their parents’ migration status. The detention of a child because of their or their parents’ migration status constitutes a child rights violation and always contravenes the principle of the best interests of the child.

“States should expeditiously and completely cease the detention of children and their parents on the basis of their immigration status . . . [and] adopt alternatives to detention 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”.

Committee on the Rights of the Child, Report Of The 2012 Day Of General Discussion: The Rights Of All Children In The Context Of International Migration


Ben Lewis, Advocacy Coordinator of the The International Detention Coalition (IDC) provided some best practice examples of collaboration, including the call for research from Defence for Children into children whose liberty is being deprived.

Lewis said, “The call from critical stakeholders from states, UN bodies, UN human  rights mechanisms, and national, regional and international civil society organizations who attended the side event was clear: there is a need for  a coordinated, effective global strategy. We will keep you updated at the next event on the progress of this conversation”.

More details:

Joint statement
Flyer_End Child Detention Side Event
Concept Note_End Child Detention Side Event
Agenda_End Child Detention Side Event