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Input Day of General Discussion of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

On the 16th and 17th of September 2021, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child will hold a Day of General Discussion on “Children’s Rights and Alternative Care”. The purpose of this biennial event is to develop a more in-depth understanding of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as how it relates to specific articles and topics. Specifically the state of current practices regarding alternative care will be examined in order to identify areas of concern regarding the unnecessary separation of children from their parents and families. And in the discussion, targeted solutions will be sought in order to tackle the issue of separation when it is unavoidable. In order to guide the discussions held on the DGD, the Committee published a call for submissions. Defence for Children is proud to share that they have submitted input on the joint placement of siblings, child abuse in alternative care, and intercountry adoption.

Alternative care

Specifically, the first submission on the joint placement of siblings in out-of-home placements was written in partnership with SOS Children’s Villages Netherlands and Belgium and Defence for Children Belgium. It advocates that separation of siblings is a harmful practice, something that should be avoided at all costs, except if it is in the best interest of the child. Additional Gloria (16) shared her experience of growing up without her sister. The second submission on the suspension of intercountry adoption urges the government to take a definitive decision to abolish the system of intercountry adoption. This submission was written in collaboration with International Child Development Initiatives ( ICDI) and CoMensha. The third submission consisted of a Dutch inquiry on historical abuse in alternative care and was written in collaboration with Leiden university. It offers an exhaustive overview of child abuse practices in the case of Dutch alternative care. These submissions are relevant for the Day of General Discussion as they provide a set of exhaustive recommendations and diffuse change systemically.

Systemic Change

The Day of General Discussion is next to a more in-depth understanding of the Convention on the Rights of the Child an opportunity to review the implementation and international progress made since the adoption of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution on the Rights of the Child, regarding children living without parental care. Recommendations have been included in each submission to ensure the safeguarding of children’s rights by encouraging systematic change in regard to alternative care practices. The best interests of the child must always take priority in any action taken or decision made. Separation of a child from its family must be avoided as much as possible, unless it’s in the best interest of the child. Such recommendations are specifically aimed at the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Dutch government and other governments and (youth)professionals. It aims to influence practices, policies and legislation, that have a direct impact on children’s lives.

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