Formerly Detained Youth Speak at the UN

In September 2012, the Campaign held a special event in collaboration with the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund to highlight the experience of administratively detained children around the world.

Entitled ‘Hear Our Voices,’ the event took place during the Committee’s Day of General Discussion (DGD) in Geneva and was the culmination of a week-long workshop in which 6 formerly detained children shared stories of their detention with over 25 State parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, five key UN agencies, and 120 participants.

The short version of the performance can be viewed here:

The event also marked the launch of IDC’s ‘Captured Childhood’ report and new Child-Sensitive Community Assessment & Placement model.

“It was a small world – 4 meter by 4 meter, the air was dark,

my world was dark, I felt scared,

I felt I am nobody, I be broken

In detention centre everybody thinks they are nobody”

Except from ‘Hear Our Voices’ in which Amin describes his experience of detention.

Importantly, the event was attended by the Deputy Commissioner for Human Rights, Kyung-wha Kang, and the Chairperson of the CRC, Yanghee Lee, who both committed to further pushing this issue within the Human Rights Council in the coming year. Due to the dialogue around child detention and commitment to pursue alternatives which took place at the DGD, the resulting CRC report included the strongest recommendation to State partied to the CRC that we have seen to date:

78. Children should not be criminalized or subject to punitive measures because of their or their parents’ migration status. The detention of a child because of their or their parent’s migration status constitutes a child rights violation and always contravenes the principle of the best interests of the child. In this light, States should expeditiously and completely cease the detention of children on the basis of their immigration status.

Many months after the event, a participant in the event Mariane Quintao,  contacted IDC with this reflection on her experience,

“I remembered our hard work and effort onto helping these kids speak out. Once again, I was more than thankful to have contributed to such a gratifying work. I really do emphasize this often: It is more than an honour to me to have had the opportunity to contribute to the campaign. I couldn’t be more thankful!”

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