Raising the Voices of Children Impacted by Detention

IDC Youth Delegation at the Children on the Move Conference, June, Berlin – Pinar Aksu, Mariane Quintau, Leeanne Torpey (IDC Campaign Coordinator) and Najeeba Wazefadost

IDC Youth Delegation at the Children on the Move Conference, June, Berlin – Pinar Aksu, Mariane Quintau, Leeanne Torpey (IDC Campaign Coordinator) and Najeeba Wazefadost

Recently the Global Campaign to End Immigration Detention of Children commemorated its 5th anniversary.

The IDC initiated the Campaign in 2012, after the IDC membership survey revealed that building political will to create change was one of the most important outcomes for IDC Members.

Since then, we’ve seen a lot of progress towards ending child immigration detention.

International law has been strengthened on the issue, with clarification from the UN CRC Committee that children should never be placed in immigration detention.

All UN bodies have now issued statements reinforcing that children should never be placed in immigration detention. During this year we welcomed a new UNHCR Issue Brief, published in January 2017 which clarifies that children should never be detained for immigration related purposes, irrespective of their legal/migratory status or that of their parents, and that detention is never in their best interests.

Ending Child Detention is now one of the core elements of the Global Compacts and is often cited as one of the most likely areas in which change, worldwide, is likely to be seen.

Significant national progress has been made towards ending child detention. This IDC Briefing Paper describes laws in over 15 countries that establish safeguards against child immigration detention. Technical advice for pilot alternatives to detention have been developed and utilised for broader advocacy success – read a case study in Mexico that outlines what has been involved in this work. 

For the important 5 year anniversary of the Global Campaign to End Immigration Detention of Children, we took the opportunity to support some of our youth advocates to attend key international forums and provide their personal insight into how migration governance can be achieved in a way that is more affordable, effective and humane.

Many of these youth advocates attended the launch event of the Global Campaign in 2012 alongside the UN Human Rights Council, and have continued to advocate and work with us over the past five years.

Supporting youth to provide insight based on their lived experiences, and ongoing support to undertake targeted advocacy, has been a central aim of the Global Campaign. See more examples of how the campaign has amplified the voices of youth.

Moving into the next five-year strategy for the Global Campaign to End Child Immigration Detention, a renewed focus on national work will be undertaken. The Campaign will work with partners around the globe to develop Scorecards that will be used to track countries’ progress on the issue of ending child detention, and compare work undertaken by governments towards ending child immigration detention. It will assess country laws, policies, procedures, international obligations, political commitments and crucially, implementation in relation to the detention of children.

Gholam Hassanpour testifies at the UN Human Rights Council


Faced with no other options, I started my new journey to seek safety and protection along with five friends. It was an extremely difficult journey, and more than once I nearly lost my life…

Read Gholam’s Speech


Mariane Quintao testifies at the Global Compact on Migration

At the age of 17, I was returned to a country I could barely remember, and where my mother, father and younger sister no longer lived. My story demonstrates how States are more concerned with protecting borders then protecting children or human rights.

Watch Marine’s intervention


Pinar Aksu testifies before the Council of Europe

The UK Home Office started detaining a lot of families – including mine.  I describe Yarlswood and Dungavel as a prison – I don’t see any difference between a detention centre and
a prison…

Read Pinar’s Speech