The idea of establishing an NGO Panel to coordinate and promote the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty came about as several non-governmental organizations demonstrated interest in supporting the campaign calling for a Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty, an idea initially pitched by Defence for Children International (DCI) in early autumn 2013.
After a first informal group of NGOs was convened by DCI at two different meetings (November 2013 and January 2014, Geneva), to discuss the idea and scope of the campaign, it seemed appropriate to move towards a more formalized entity, in view of the subsequent phases and efforts which would be required to launch and follow a Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty.
The NGO Panel for the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty was set up to coordinate joint advocacy and lobbying efforts that enabled the launch, and completion of the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty. The NGO Panel is now focusing on effective implementation and follow-up of the Study and its recommendations.
- Collaborates and coordinated for the campaign calling for a Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty at international, regional and national level, through advocacy and lobbying activities with UN agencies, member States, and other relevant stakeholders;
- Identifed key international, regional and national events, meetings, etc. and collaborated in the organization of joint activities to raise awareness and gain support for the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty;
- Organize national and regional events around the world aimed at disseminating the recommendations of the Global Study;
- Share relevant information, reports, analysis on the topic of the Study;
- Indentify possible follow-up mechanisms for the Study to ensure its implementation at international,regional and national level.
The Global Study shows that the vast majority of children detained around the world today have been deprived of liberty in violation of international law and in specific of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). In almost all cases, there would have been noncustodial solutions available, which should have been applied in order to meet the high legal standard of detention as a measure of last resort (Article 37(b) CRC). The best interests principle (Article 3 CRC) serves as the guiding principle for the entire child rights-based analysis, reviewing both context and justification for deprivation of liberty (content) and decision-making processes in relation to such interference (procedure).
Membership to the NGO Panel is open to all international, regional and national NGOs working in the advancement of the full respect of human rights of the child, which request to be member. Members are to agree with the scope and role of the NGO Panel.
In order to ensure efficient functioning of the NGO Panel, a Core Group has been established, currently consisting of nine members. Membership to the NGO Panel is decided by consensus within the Core Group, taking into account a balanced regional representation and relevance to the topic of children deprived of liberty. The Core Group leads and coordinates all activities, with the expectation that each organizational member will invest staff time and resources.
Membership of the Core Group is to be limited to those NGOs who have expressed their interest to join and have been engaged in the campaign calling for a Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty since the initial phases, and must be organizations which work for the promotion and protection of human rights, with a specific child rights agenda.
Members of the NGO Panel can decide to withdraw their membership by giving written notice to the co-conveners (Defence for Children International (DCI) and Human Rights Watch). Replacement with another NGO can take place upon common approval of the Core Group of the NGO Panel.
Members of the NGO Panel include:
- Defence for Children International (DCI) – co-convenor
- Human Rights Watch (HRW) – co-convenor
- Child Rights International Network (CRIN)
- International Catholic Child Bureau (BICE)
- International Detention Coalition (IDC)
- International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO)
- Penal Reform International (PRI)
- Terre des Hommes International Federation
- World Organization against Torture (OMCT)
ConvenersThe NGO Panel has two co-conveners, Defence for Children International (DCI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW). Conveners carry out the following tasks:
- Information sharing
- Preparation of meetings
- Coordinate advocacy and lobbying activities
- Officially represent the NGO Panel
- Foster relationship with partners and stakeholders
- Maintain the website and develop communication materials
All decisions are to be taken by consensus within the Core Group of the NGO Panel. If consensus cannot be reached – on an exceptional basis – decisions will be made based on a majority vote. In the case of a tie, the co-conveners will cast the deciding vote.