On 9 June 2022, the Department of Children and Youth (DCY) of the Government of Thailand signed a memorandum of understanding with HOST International Thailand Foundation (HOST) to establish a formal partnership and collaboration to implement the Memorandum of Understanding on the Determination of Measures and Approaches Alternative to Detention of Children in Immigration Detention Centres (MOU-ATD), signed by the Thai government in 2019

Over the past few years, DCY and HOST, as well as IDC and other civil society stakeholders, worked in collaboration to leverage Thailand’s commitment to end the immigration detention of children. This involved collaborating to reduce the number of children in immigration detention, while promoting the use of community-based Case Management and alternatives to detention (ATD) for children and their families. The DCY and HOST partnership MOU signed in June this year stipulates clear and coordinated objectives for both parties to implement the MOU-ATD in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN-CRC) and the Regional Plan of Action on Implementing the ASEAN Declaration on the Rights of Children in the Context of Migration. The partnership MOU also includes coordination on activities to strengthen the capacity of child protection officers and the child protection system to effectively protect children and their families in the context of Migration. As part of this initiative, HOST will serve a critical role as an equal partner with DCY, and will assign staff to coordinate with DCY to provide assistance to children and their families released from immigration detention, as well as coordinate with Government agencies, international organisations and civil society to ensure holistic support services. HOST can also advise DCY on child protection issues, and regularly organise training on child protection for DCY staff and other key stakeholders. 

This partnership MOU is the first of its kind, and is the result of collective efforts by the Thai government and Thai civil society to advance a whole-of-society approach towards ensuring the best interests of the child in Thailand. 

IDC is a key partner of  DCY and HOST in implementing the MOU-ATD in Thailand. Most recently, IDC and HOST worked together on a joint project to strengthen community-based ATD throughout 2021-2022. IDC would like to congratulate both parties on this new partnership MOU, which represents a great outcome of positive and effective government and civil society collaboration. IDC believes that moving forward this partnership MOU will serve as a key tool for Thailand to achieve its pledge stated at the International Migration Review Forum in May 2022 – that Thailand will effectively implement ATD measures for children in the context of migration, as well as commit to end child immigration detention.



Written by Mic Chawaratt IDC Southeast Asia Programme Manager