PLEASE SIGN ON BY COB THURS 11/15.
Dear DWN Members, Supporters, and Allies, and IDC members,
As many of you know, Universal Children's Day is November 20th, and the International Detention Coalition (IDC) will be marking the day with the culmination of its campaign against children in detention worldwide.
Attached and below you will find a sign-on statement asking the US government to reform its policies around the detention of children (a big thank you to the Women's Commission for drafting the statement!). Please support this effort by signing on!
**Please be sure to clearly indicate whether it is the organization or individual signing and the exact name to use. Also contact Sana if you have any questions about the sign on. The final statement with signatories will be circulated and sent to the Administration and Congress on November 20th.
Thank you all!
[apologies for cross postings]
Protecting the Most Vulnerable: A Call to Action On Behalf of Detained Children
Universal Children's Day is a time to celebrate the promise of children across the globe. It is a time for governments to affirm their commitment to the rights and protections that allow children to reach their full potential.
In the spirit of Universal Children's Day, we call on the United States and the international community to take immediate steps to address a growing scourge on the international system-the detention of migrant children, including asylum seekers. Many of these children are unaccompanied by a parent or guardian. They may have fled to escape persecution, gang violence, family abuse or trafficking. They are among the most vulnerable children in the world and they need urgent protection.
Consistent with international law and standards, governments should refrain from detaining migrant children. If children are detained, governments should ensure that it is only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest possible period of time. In those exceptional circumstances where it is necessary to detain children, governments must ensure that children are placed in living quarters suitable for children and that they receive the necessary services, including health care, education and legal assistance.
The U.S should be a model for the international community on the protection of migrant children. But our country falls unacceptably short on this score. To reform our own system and to set an example for the international community, the Administration and Congress must act now to:
--Ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
--Support and fully fund alternatives to detention programs so that the detention of migrant children and families with children is a measure of last resort and only for the most exceptional circumstances.
--Ensure that the Department of Homeland Security immediately transfers unaccompanied migrant children to the care of the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement.
-- Ensure that children who must be detained or held in custody are held in the least restrictive setting appropriate for their needs and circumstances.
--Ensure that the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency provides timely public information on the number of children in ICE detention and the location of facilities where they are being held.
--Provide children in immigration detention or custody with legal services, including pro bono counsel, and with a guardian who will ensure that any decisions made are in the best interests of the child.
--Ensure that children in immigration detention or custody receive appropriate services including education and medical and mental health care.
This Call to Action is endorsed by the following organizations and individuals working to protect vulnerable children:
Member Services Coordinator
Detention Watch Network
1536 U St. NW, Washington DC 20009
tel: (202)-339-9346 fax: (202)-387-4893
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