Europe

Cooperation with the Council of Europe

The Special Representative collaborates closely with the Council of Europe. Violence against children is a key priority for the Council, which is the European forum for follow-up to the recommendations of the United Nations Study and cooperation with the Special Representative.

In 2009, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted the Policy Guidelines on integrated national strategies for the protection of children from violence, calling on Member States to promote the wide dissemination of the guidelines and their implementation through national legislation, policy and practice. According to the guidelines, an integrated national strategy is a multifaceted and systematic framework fully integrated into a national policy, with a specific time frame, with realistic targets, coordinated and monitored by a single agency, supported by adequate human and financial resources and based on scientific knowledge. To advance the process of implementation of the guidelines, a follow-up meeting was hosted by the Government of Austria, in Vienna. The meeting was a timely occasion to review Member States’ experiences, reflect on lessons from initiatives within and across countries, and learn from developments in other regions of the world.

On 17 November 2010, the Committee of Ministers of the Council adopted the Guidelines on Child-Friendly Justice, to ensure children’s access to a justice system that is age-sensitive, speedy, diligent and respectful of the rights of the child, and to protect those involved from harm, intimidation and secondary victimization. The Guidelines establish important standards to inform counselling, reporting and complaint mechanisms for incidents of violence. They provide a key reference for the Council’s Campaign to Stop Sexual Violence of Children, launched with the Special Representative in late November 2010. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness and offer knowledge and advice to families and children on the prevention and reporting of incidents of sexual violence against children. 

Cooperation with the European Union

The Special Representative works with the European Union, with a view to advance the development of the European Union strategy on the rights of the child, under preparation by the Commission, and the further implementation of the 2007 European Union Guidelines for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of the Child and its strategy to fight violence against children.

The promotion and protection of the rights of the child is one of the objectives of the EU on which the Treaty of Lisbon has put further emphasis. Notably, Article 3(3) of the Treaty on European Union explicitly requires the EU to promote the protection of the rights of the child.

On 15 February 2011, the European Union established an Agenda for the Rights of the Child, listing 11 actions that the Commission would take over the coming years. The initiative aimed to reaffirm the strong commitment of EU institutions and Member States to promoting, protecting and fulfilling the rights of the child in all relevant EU policies and to turn them into concrete results. In the future, EU policies that affect children directly or indirectly should be designed, implemented, and monitored taking into account the principle of children’s best interests.

In November 2010, the Special Representative met the Vice President of the European Commission, Viviane  Reding. The meeting was a strategic opportunity to address areas of shared concern, including the inclusion of children’s protection from violence in the above-mentioned strategy on the rights of the child, the consolidation of legislation and other actions for the protection of girls from harmful practices, and the safeguard of the rights of child victims of incidents of violence.

In the framework of the partnership developed with the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency, the Special Representative participated in the conference on the theme “Ensuring justice and protection for all children”, held in Brussels on 7 and 8 December 2010, and organized with the Belgian Presidency of the European Union. Attended by a vast network of Government officials, academics and child rights experts, intergovernmental and civil society, the meeting gave prominent attention to violence prevention and the promotion of ethical and child-sensitive approaches to counselling and support for child victims of violence.

Political Declarations

Joint Statement round table of regional organisations and institutions on the protection of children from all forms of violence (2013)

Join Statement from the high-level round table on the role of regional organisations on the protection of children from violence (2011)

Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child (2012-2015)

Council of Europe Strategy 2009-2011 - Building a Europe for and with children

Council of Europe Policy Guidelines on integrated national strategies for the protection of children from violence

Guidelines of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on child friendly justice

Communication from the European Commission to the European Parliament and the Council - Towards the elimination of female genital mutilation

International Conference "Combating violence against children: from isolated actions to integrated strategies"

European Union Agenda for the Rights of the Child

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - An EU Agenda for the Rights of the Child

European Union Guidelines for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of the Child

Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography and replacing Council Framework Decision 2004/68/JHA

European Union - Investing in children: breaking the cycle of disadvantage

Joint Communication to the European Parliament and the Council - Human Rights and Democracy at the Heart of our External Action - Towards a more Effective Approach

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - A Special Place for Children in the EU External Action 

 

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