My name is Mariane Quintao. I am a Youth Ambassador for the Global Campaign to End Child Immigration Detention. I have been an active member ever since its launch at the United Nations in Geneva, when, as a chairperson of the event, I shared my story for the first time. At the time, I took full advantage of the opportunity I had to advocate for the End of Immigration Detention of Children. I am very proud of the remarking result which was the CRC´s reccomendation that “states should expediously end the immigration detention of children.” Ever since then, I have contributed to the Campaign through blog posts, webinars, international conferences, and as a lobbyist in the United Nations.
In June of 2017, I had a very interesting and exciting opportunity to represent the voices and experiences of migrant youth at a variety of important international events and gatherings in Europe. I was a participant at the Global Conference on Children on the Move and the GFMD (Global Forum on Migration and Development) in Berlin. I was also a speaker at the United Nations side-event Human Rights Perspectives On the Governance of Migration at Borders and in the Context of Returns. Finally, and this would be the most memorable thing I have ever done for the Campaign, I got to do an intervention from the floor and speak on behalf of all Migrant Children at the United Nations Assembly during the Third Thematic Session for facilitating Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.
Through the years of my work and collaboration with the Global Campaign, I´ve realised that many states, such as Brazil, Mexico and Italy for example have been very engaged in guaranteeing the fundamental rights of migrant children. With this in mind, the Campaign came up with the initiative of evaluating how country policies abide by International Human and Child Rights law in the context of Migration. My coordinator who has been very supportive throughout all of these years, trusted my management and research skills to put a Committee together in Brazil and develop the Scorecard Brazil. This project uses a comprehensive framework to track child migration experiences, including child detention, and then determines a global ranking of country actions and commitment. We have recently launched the NexGen Index that ranks 20 different countries, including Brazil which was ranked in first place!
After a full year of research, consulting with strategic stakeholders in Brazil, visiting NGOs and collecting information, we were ready to finally Launch the project through a Global Webinar on the 13th of August, 2018. In the webinar, I was a panelist speaking about the NextGen Index and the Scorecard Process in Brazil. Bare with me as I guide you through the process and our inspiring results.
Firstly, in terms of the process, developing the scorecard was quite challenging in the sense that the Brazilian committee was relatively small. I lead the committee which was composed of one other member, Junia Barretos who was a former English Student of mine who was very interested and supportive on the issue of child rights in Brazil. In order to carry out our research, we engaged with strategic stakeholders such as Public Defender João Chavez who provided our committee with very important information and confirmed our research findings that Brazil does not practice the detention of children for migration purposes. This has made Brazil the top leader in the issue of detention of children and it would be very important for us to find Civil Society representatives and organizations that are willing to help us share Brazil’s example and develop future scorecards. In fact, if you are reading this report and is interested in being part of such an important project, don’t hesitate to contact us and get involved.
Campaign Coordinator, Leeanne Torpey & Mariane Quintao, Youth Ambassador for the Campaign to End Child Detention at the webinar broadcast
Secondly, our findings have put Brazil on the top of the Ranking, with a score of 110. The country managed to score so well because it went through a major transition from the Statute of 1980 that was a policy completely concerned with National Security to a policy that seeks to abide by International Human and, most importantly, child rights law. The New Migration Act in Brazil is a legislation that is definitely concerned with the Best Interest of the Child, Family reunification and a safe lifestyle for migrant children and families. This immigration law is quite unique in that it enables migrants to be treated as nationals. This means that any individual who arrives in Brazil, whether as a refugee, migrant or asylum seeker, is granted temporary status while a final decision is processed and made. Throughout this whole process, they are entitled to every social, health and educational services that native Brazilians are entitled to – meaning they can access Public Health care services, Public legal assistance and the children can also attend public schools.
It is clear that this approach was definitely the most affordable, effective and humane the country could have pursued…
It is very surprising that Brazil has come out to be such a great example in the subject of migration. But, it is clear that this approach was definitely the most affordable, effective and humane the country could have pursued. It not only is abiding by International Human and, most importantly, Child Rights law, but sets Brazil as a leading example of how other States who be doing towards migrant children.
I am very grateful to have been part of such a beautiful project and look forward to what the country puts into practice in terms of what it has done on a statutory level.