Council of Europe and European Union come together for children’s rights
The Council of Europe (CoE) and European Union (EU) together form a vital partnership with a common vision for ensuring child protection and child-friendly justice.
That was the message from Marija Pejčinović Burić, Secretary General to the CoE, which oversees human rights across the continent, as she addressed the 14th European Forum on the Rights of the Child 2022.
The council’s Strategy for the Rights of the Child 2022-2027 (the Rome Strategy), along with the EU Strategy for the Rights of the Child have shared objectives, she said, focusing on the participation of children, integrated systems for child protection and child-friendly justice.
‘Aims of the new EU strategy are right and just’
She stressed the importance that strategic partnerships have played in the elaboration and implementation of the Council of Europe’s Rome Strategy, as well as previous strategies, adding: “The European Union has been in the first rank of our partners in this.”
Both the CoE and EU are implementing the council’s recommendation on the participation of children and young people under the age of 18, apply the Child Participation Assessment Tool, and promote child-friendly justice.
She said the ‘Barnahus’ model, designed to provide the highest standards of care, support and access to justice when it comes to child victims of sexual abuse, drew on the CoE’s guidelines and recommendations of its key monitoring bodies (the Lanzarote Committee), and has seen rapid expansion across Europe thanks to the funding and determination of the EU.
The Secretary General stressed that the aims of the new EU strategy for the Rights of the Child – empowering, protecting and including children – are ‘right and just’, and reiterated that the Council of Europe’s experience and expertise are available where required.
She also spoke of the challenges children face, including the recent growth of self-generated sexual content made by children and of the increased risk of abuse of Ukrainian children in migration, which the Secretary General called ‘one of the many appalling effects of Russia’s aggression’.
Click here for the full speech by the Secretary General.