Invitation for Panel Event: Protecting the Liberty of Migrant Children & Families

Visions from the Inside

When: September 30, 2015 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Where: 2nd Floor, 777 UN Plaza, at First Avenue and E. 44th St. New York

Every day, all around the world, migrant children and their families are detained simply because they lack the proper documents. These children and families often undertake perilous journeys and are met with xenophobia, violence and—increasingly—with detention despite having committed no crime and without being a threat to others.

There is now overwhelmingly clear guidance from the United Nations system that the immigration detention of children is a violation of rights to liberty and family life. Non-custodial, community-based alternatives to detention (ATD) are increasingly being implemented in a variety of country contexts. These ATD fulfill the best interests of the child and allow children to remain with their family members and/or guardians, respecting the fundamental right to liberty, while their immigration status is being resolved.

With this, the campaign to end child detention has coordinated a side event to the UN General Assembly to mark the 25th Anniversary of the adoption of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. This collaborative event invites people to raise awareness of the need to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families and specifically to promote its role in preventing the detention of migrant workers and members of their families. This event will also bring together representatives from States, the United Nations and inter-governmental organizations, as well as NGOs and civil society organizations.

The event will be welcomed by Carol Barton from United Methodist Women, and Monami Maulik from Women and Global Migration Working Group. The opening remarks will be lead by Maarit Kohonen Sheriff, the Deputy Head of Office of the New York Office, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

There will be a film screening of I Am Not Here, produced by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). It explores the vulnerability of migrant workers and their families. It will be followed by A Tale of Two Children, produced jointly by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Global Campaign to End Child Immigration Detention, explores available child-sensitive alternatives to detention (ATD).

The event will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families by convening a panel discussion of the rights of migrant children and families in the context of international migration. A focus will be on immigration detention, and how state efforts to control cross-border migration are leading to an increasing number of rights violations, especially for vulnerable migrant children and families. The speakers of the event will include dignitaries namely Ben Lewis from Advocacy Coordinator International Detention Coalition, Prasad Kariyawasam, Member and Former Chair, UN Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, Joseph Cornelius Donnelly Permanent Delegate to the United Nations of Caritas Internationalis, and H.E. Carlos Raúl Morales Minister for Foreign Affairs, Permanent Mission of Guatemala.

The panel discussion will be followed by a reception and art installation entitled, Visions from the Inside, which had its first exhibit at the Next to the Delegates’ Lounge, Palais des Nations last 7th-18th of September 2015. Visions from the Inside is a series of illustrations based on letters written by women and children in an immigration detention center. Curated by CultureStirke, these visual art interpretations were created by a diverse line-up of 15 visual artists and highlight the realities that migrants experience inside of immigration detention facilities, what led them to migrate away from their home countries, and the resiliency of the human spirit.

This event was made possible by the sponsorship of End Immigration Detention of Children, United Methodist Women, Women & Global Migration Working Group, Caritas, Destination Unknown, Terre des Hommes, Step it Up, and International Detention Coalition.

Please find below the program and the background note.


background note