On 21 and 22 July, Children’s Rights Alliance Chief Executive Jillian van Turnhout, who is a Member of the European Economic and Social Committee and rapporteur on children’s rights, outlined the EU’s perspective on children’s rights in Chongqing, China. This was the 7th Meeting of the China-EU Round Table and the first time that China and the EU officially discussed their positions on children’s rights. It is hoped that the Conclusions emanating from the Round Table will spur representatives from the EU states and China to initiate stronger policies in the area of children’s rights, particularly in relation to the sale and trafficking of children.
China and each of the member states of the EU have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and have adopted numerous laws, policies, and action plans to protect and strengthen the rights of the child. The Round Table agreed that the root causes of poverty, including lack of education, should be addressed and respective laws and policies show now be fully enforced and implemented whilst protecting the best interests of children. Interestingly, special attention was also given to the potential role of Corporate Social Responsibility in upholding the rights of the child and eliminating the worst forms of child labour.
Mrs Jillian van Turnhout, following the first ever discussion of children’s rights in a China-EU forum, commented: “I am honoured to be the first EU representative to make a presentation on children’s rights to a joint EU-China forum. This was a worthwhile trip that brought together a delegation from the EU and China to discuss two important issues, one of which was children’s rights. Both China and the EU outlined their challenges in relation to children’s rights and discussed the next steps – these talks clearly show that more needs to be done by both sides. Our conclusions clearly demonstrate each member’s conviction that childhood should be recognised as an important and valuable part of life in its own right and that steps can be taken to make this a reality. I’m heartened by the inclusion of a specific call to stop the trafficking of children and I look forward to our discussions in December to deepen and further develop our work in this important area.”
The China-EU Round Table will reconvene in Belgium this year, in December 2010. The Round Table will look more deeply at the issue of the rights of the child and draw up a mid-term review of the Round Table's work and the action plans for the coming two years.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Carys Thomas, Communications Director
Children’s Rights Alliance
Tel: (01) 662 9400 / 087 7702845
Notes to Editor:
- Following the recommendation of the 9th EU-China Summit in Helsinki in September 2006, the EU-China Civil Society Round Table was jointly established by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the China Economic and Social Council (CESC), in Beijing in June 2007.
- Photo available of Mrs Jillian van Turnhout, EESC Rapporteur on Children’s Rights with her Chinese counterpart, Rapporteur Mrs Lu.
Conclusions of Round Table Concerning the Rights of the Child
18.The Round Table acknowledges the need to protect the rights of the child which are of great concern to all countries and the society as a whole. Children should be valued not only as future adults and workers but also as holders of rights, and childhood should be recognised as an important and valuable part of life in its own right.
19.The Round Table welcomes the fact that both China and the EU have adopted numerous laws, policies, and plans to protect and strengthen the rights of the child. The members of the Round Table urge their governments to take effective measures to ensure that these laws and policies are fully enforced and implemented and that the best interests of children be upheld.
20.The Round Table acknowledges the important role of the family, and especially of parents, in protecting the rights of their children. Governments are responsible for ensuring that all children enjoy the same rights and protection, and for assisting families in child-caring responsibilities. The local communities and the living environment also play an important role in ensuring that children have a childhood in accordance with the principles mentioned in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
21.The Round Table stresses that it is important to maintain and mainstream the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child by enshrining them in law, integrating them into policies, promoting them through awareness raising and education, and ensuring that they are adhered to in practice.
22.The Round Table highlights the potential role of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in upholding the rights of the child and eliminating the worst forms of child labour. The Round Table urges governments, acting in cooperation with other stakeholders, to combat child discrimination based on gender, race or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age, geographical location, social status or family structure.
23.The Round Table urges China and the EU to reinforce their cooperation in combating the trafficking of women and children.
24.The Round Table underlines that special attention needs to be paid to the impact of poverty, social exclusion, disability, discrimination and racism, as well as to the status of ethnic minority and refugee children. Those migrant workers’ children, who have either been left behind in their countryside or have settled in cities with their parents also need special attention.
25.In order to protect children from all forms of harm, abuse and neglect, the creation of a safe environment for children and respect for the voice of children is necessary. In China there is also a clear need to devote increased resources to children’s education, health and the development of professional services to support children and their families.
26.The two sides agree to hold the eighth meeting of the China-EU Round Table in Brussels, Belgium in December 2010. The Round Table will look more deeply at the issue of the rights of the child and draw up a mid-term review of the Round Table's work and the action plans for the coming two years.