Child rights

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Children’s Rights Networks Call for More EU Leadership

In the period from 23-24 April 2015, the meeting of Eurochild’s 18 ‘National Partner Networks’ (NPNs), representing over 1900 organisations working for children’s rights across Europe, was held in Amsterdam. The Network of Organizations for Children of Serbia – MODS was represented by Jasmina Mikovic, Praxis Deputy Director and a member of the MODS Steering Committee. In addition, Jasmina Mikovic participated in the joint session of Eurochild and European Network of Ombudspersons for Children (ENOC) where she presented the cooperation of MODS and Deputy Ombudsperson for Child Rights in Serbia.

A collective of national children’s rights networks called for stronger direction at the EU level to help EU member states promote and protect children’s rights in Europe. The meeting of Eurochild’s 18 ‘National Partner Networks’ (NPNs) in Amsterdam, Netherlands today showed the need for a European coordinated approach to encourage EU Member States in their work towards improving the lives of children and young people.

The situation of children and young people in Europe is nowhere near ideal. Across the EU, 28% of children are at risk of poverty or social exclusion compared to an average of 25% for the total population. Over 11% of children in EU leave school before completing secondary education. Youth unemployment is more than twice the average unemployment rate. (Eurostat 2013) Poverty is the main driver for children taken into public care. Over half a million of them end up in institutions in the EU.  The precarious situation of migrant and refugee children, some of whom have been separated from their families, is putting them in extremely vulnerable situations.

“Investing in children is a win for the future. Empowering children guarantees better outcomes in education, savings in state expenditure, lowering radicalisation and increasing innovation across sectors”, says Dana Rušinová, Coalition for Children Slovakia (NPN in Slovakia).

 “The development of EU child protection principles is a step in the right direction. But it can’t stop there. Our governments need support to apply these principles in practice. How, for instance, will they use these to protect child refugees and migrants who are coming to Europe?” asked Edel Quinn, Children’s Rights Alliance (NPN in Ireland).

“Government reform programmes and EU initiatives like the TTIP may increase the level of involvement of private providers in health, education and social services for children. The EU has an important role to play in ensuring that the highest standards of quality, underpinned by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, are maintained across all sectors of provision”, says Marion Mcleod, Children in Scotland (NPN in Scotland).

Eurochild, along with a number of child rights organisations and most recently, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in its review of the EU in September 2014, have recommended the EU to develop a strategic direction that will address children’s rights across Europe, taking into account the specific needs of each and every child. The last EU strategic framework, the EU Agenda on the Rights of the Child, expired in 2014.

“The EU has made great strides on improving children’s rights through various policies. For example, the guidelines around rights of victims of crime have supported victims of child trafficking and child abuse. However, we need a comprehensive approach to ensure all children are protected and offered the potential to exercise their rights”, says Pien Klieverik, Defence for Children International (NPN in Netherlands).

Stronger collaboration with Children’s Ombudspersons in Europe
Pleased by opportunities developed in its meeting with European Network of Ombudspersons for Children (ENOC) in Amsterdam today, Eurochild’s NPNs look forward to further their cooperation with the aim to advance children's rights in Europe.

“We need strong, independent children’s ombudspersons in every country. Our members are cooperating with existing ombudspersons and advocating for establishing this crucial role in countries where ombudspersons do not exist. At a time when the situation of children across Europe is worsening we need to work hand in hand”, added Jana Hainsworth, Secretary General, Eurochild.

About Eurochild:
Eurochild advocates for children’s rights and well-being to be at the heart of policymaking. We are a network of organisations working with and for children throughout Europe, striving for a society that respects the rights of children. We influence policies, build internal capacities, facilitate mutual learning and exchange practice and research. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is the foundation of all our work.

National Partner Networks (NPNs) are members of Eurochild and are seen as the representative, legitimate voice of the children’s rights sector in their country. Currently there are 18 NPNs representing over 1900 children’s organisations across Europe:

The list of countries and names of national partner networks:

Austria - Netzwerk Kinderrechte
Belgium - Kinderrechtencoalitie
Bulgaria - National Network for Children
Croatia - Coordination of Associations for Children
Cyprus - Pancyprian Coordinating Committee for the Protection and Welfare of Children
Denmark - Joint Council for Child Issues (Bornesagens Faellesrad)
Finland - Central Union for Child Welfare Finland
France - National Federation of Associations for Child Protection (CNAPE)
Germany - Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Kinder- und Jugendhilfe (AGJ)
Ireland - Children's Rights Alliance Ireland
Romania - NGOs Federation for Children
Serbia - MODS
Slovakia - Coalition for Children
UK- Scotland - Children in Scotland
UK – Northern Ireland - Children in Northern Ireland
UK - Wales - Children in Wales
UK - England - Children England

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