Thursday, November 20, 2014


Christina Fialho, Co-Founder/Executive Director, Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC),, 385-212-4842 

On the 25th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Groups Express Outrage Over Detention of Children and Families

Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA — As the world marks the 25th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child on November 20, the United States has embarked on the largest family detention program since Japanese Internment.  Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC) expresses outrage over the detention of children on the International Detention Coalition’s Day of Action demanding an end to child detention.  

“Immigration detention is a one-size-fits-all ‘solution’ that locks up mothers, fathers, and children in unimaginable isolation,” said Christina Fialho, a California attorney and co-executive director of Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC).  “Imprisoning children and families is a human rights violation.”

Today, CIVIC is releasing “Drawings By Themselves: Portraits of America,” a multimedia project that provides children and their parents in U.S. immigration detention with an opportunity to share their experience through drawings and stories.  CIVIC produced the project in partnership with the International Detention Coalition, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, and the Global Campaign to End Immigration Detention of Children.

“Drawings By Themselves: Portraits of America” tells a story about America today. Through their artwork, the children and parents express their humanity and claim the United States as their own, even as the Obama Administration continues to expand family detention in response to the recent arrival of Central American women and children asylum seekers fleeing violence in their home countries.

The administration’s decision to incarcerate women and children in family detention centers puts their mental and physical health in jeopardy, further exacerbating past traumas. Furthermore, the government is ignoring international standards outlined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which state that children should not be detained, and is failing to comply with the 1996 Flores settlement in the United States, which requires the Department of Homeland Security to “release a minor from its custody without unnecessary delay.”

“Detention Watch Network condemns family detention, and demands an end to this inhumane policy that puts women and children at risk,” said Silky Shah, Co-Director of the Detention Watch Network, a coalition of which CIVIC is a member. “Funds should be directed towards refugee resettlement services and legal resources to ensure due process for families and safe living environments for children.”

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Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC) is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit working to end the isolation and abuse of people in U.S. immigration detention through visitation, independent monitoring, storytelling, and advocacy.  “Drawings By Themselves: Portraits of America” will be launched at 6pm at the Church Center for the United Nations on November 20, 2014.  Available at

The Detention Watch Network works through the collective strength and diversity of its members to expose and challenge the injustices of the U.S. immigration detention and deportation system and advocate for profound change that promotes the rights and dignity of all persons.


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