Tuesday 15 February 2011
Alliance Welcomes EU Boost to Children's Rights in Brussels
The Children's Rights Alliance has today welcomed the publication by the European Commission of its first ever strategy on children: An EU Agenda for the Rights of the Child, which will boost the rights of children the length and breadth of Europe. The EU Agenda contains a series of overarching principles and 11 concrete actions, and reinforces children’s rights by putting the principles of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights into practice. The actions will be undertaken over the coming years to ‘add value’ to and consolidate existing work and will reaffirm the strong commitment of EU institutions and Member States to promote, protect and fulfil the rights of the child in all relevant EU policies. Furthermore, the Agenda will produce concrete results that will make a real difference to children’s lives, in areas including child-friendly justice, better informing children about their rights, and making the internet safer for children.
Alliance Chief Executive, Jillian van Turnhout, speaking from Brussels, says: “We are delighted with the EU Commission’s announcement today, which is the culmination of a significant amount of work in many locations, including Ireland. I am very excited by the publication of this Agenda, the first of its kind in the EU. It means that both the EU institutions and member states, including our new Government, will undertake very real work that will make a difference to the lives of children and their families. Promises today will ensure that children will be better supported when accessing the justice system, that further work will be undertaken to protect vulnerable children, such as those have been trafficked or sexually exploited, and a European wide focus on child poverty will be maintained. These are just some of the element of the work promised today, so I’m very excited – and proud.”
Mrs van Turnhout, who is also a member of the European Economic and Social Committee, continues: “The Alliance has closely followed the development of this Agenda, and we have played an integral role from the outset. Most recently, we provided a comprehensive submission outlining our recommendations on a number of issues, many of which have been taken up. These include the need for combined, cross-border action in child trafficking and child pornography; a Europe wide hotline for missing children; an obligation on member states to train members of the judiciary in children’s rights and child-friendly procedures; to training for those working separated children, and to guarantee that children have a voice in judicial proceedings affecting them. This is excellent news and will make a huge difference to children’s lives – and parents’ lives.”
Notes to Editor:·
The European Commission’s An EU Agenda for the Rights of the Child can be downloaded at: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/news/intro/news_intro_en.htm·
The Treaty of Lisbon, which entered into force on 1 December 2009, confirmed the protection of children’s rights as part of the core objectives of EU policies.
Children's rights form part of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.·
In October 2010, the Commission adopted a strategy for effectively implementing the provisions of the Charter of Fundamental Rights (IP/10/1348).
Next month, it will publish the first annual report on fundamental rights, which will also monitor progress on applying children’s rights.
Overview of 11 actions The Commission will contribute to making the justice systems in the EU more child-friendly and to improving children's well-being notably by:adopting, in 2011, a proposal for a Directive on victims’ rights raising the level of protection of vulnerable victims, including children; tabling, in 2012, a proposal for a Directive on special safeguards for suspected or accused persons who are vulnerable, including children; revising, by 2013, the EU legislation facilitating the recognition and enforcement of decisions on parental responsibility with a view to ensuring, in the interest of the child, that decisions can be recognised and enforced as quickly as possible, including, where appropriate, the establishment of common minimum standards; promoting the use of the Council of Europe Guidelines of 17 November 2010 on child-friendly justice and taking them into account in future legal instruments in the field of civil and criminal justice; supporting and encouraging the development of training activities for judges and other professionals at European level regarding the optimal participation of children in judicial systems. supporting the exchange of best practices and the improvement of training for guardians, public authorities and other actors who are in close contact with unaccompanied children (2011-2014); paying particular attention to children in the context of the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies, which will be adopted in spring 2011 and will notably promote the more efficient use of structural funds for the integration of Roma; strongly encouraging and providing support to all Member States to ensure the swift introduction and full functioning of the 116 000 hotline for missing children and the child alert mechanisms (2011-2012); supporting Member States and other stakeholders in strengthening prevention, empowerment and participation of children to make the most of online technologies and counter cyber-bullying behaviour, exposure to harmful content, and other online risks namely through the Safer Internet programme and cooperation with the industry through self-regulatory initiatives (2009-2014); continuing the implementation of the 2007 EU Guidelines on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of the Child that focus on combating all forms of violence against children. The EU will also evaluate the implementation of the Guidelines. The EU will implement the EU Guidelines on Children and Armed Conflicts based on the 2010 Revised Implementation Strategy; setting up, in the course of 2011, a single entry point on EUROPA with information for children on the EU and on the rights of the child. The Commission will invite other EU institutions to join this initiative