Brussels, 20th May 2014 – We sometimes hear that the EU is a global player in the promotion and protection of the rights of the child, in Europe and worldwide. Ahead of the EU Elections next 25th May 2014, let us have a closer look at it.
2014 A turning year for the EU – What about children?
Facts & Figures
Worldwide, some 35 million children and youth are on the move and are exposed to the risk of trafficking, exploitation, violence and death while moving. 125 millions girl children and young women have suffered a form of genital mutilation. 7.5 million girl children and young women are exploited and forced to work in intolerable conditions in strangers’ households.
In the EU, children make up one quarter of new asylum seekers every year, 250.000 children are reported missing every year, over 15% of victims of trafficking in the EU are children. Children on the move trying to reach the EU drown after boat sank off the Mediterranean coasts or die suffocated in the track into which they hide to avoid the border police checks or suicide when they are told to be repatriated to their country of origin or put in detention.
2014: Elections, the EU and Children
If we look at these facts and figures, a series of questions raise in our mind. Is the EU a real “global player” in promoting child protection and child rights? Is the EU really giving the means of its announced policy? What will the new EU institution resulting from the next 25th May European Elections do concretely to address those major child rights violations?
2014: the EU, Policy and Children
Child rights, asylum and migration policy for the upcoming years are under revision. They will have a strong and direct impact on children’s lives, today and in the future. This is why Terre des Hommes is closely monitoring and working on such pieces of EU policy.
EU Strategy for the Rights of the Child II
The current EU strategy for the Rights of the Child is expiring in December 2014. What is next? At the time of writing this news, we do not know if the next European Commission will develop a new strategy. This is not an encouraging sign. It can reveal a lack of will to bring EU member states on a more harmonized child rights policy. For sure, we need a coherent and consistent EU vision on the rights of the child, both at home and in external policy. Terre des Hommes will continue to push EU institutions to do so and convince EU leaders on this agenda.
EU Child Protection Guidelines
A new Child Protection Policy in Europe? In the recent years, the debate on the role of Child Protection Systems in protecting children has increased at EU level. The 2012 and 2013 EU Forum on the Rights of the Child raised the debates on Child Protection Systems and children on the move were put in the agenda: a result and contribution of our advocacy work over the years. It represents also an encouraging sign that the issue is becoming more visible in the EU Agenda. As part of this debate, the EU is now working on the development of a Child Protection policy in Europe through specific EU Guidelines. Terre des Hommes will push the EU to overcome somehow the current policy categorization of children and build a EU Child Protection Policy that protects all children, that ensure inclusiveness and accessibility to national Child Protection Systems to all children on the move, be they EU nationals and non EU nationals. Terre des Hommes calls on the EU overcome setting of children in category A or B, children who are entitled to protection and others who are not, because of their nationality or migration status!
The EU Migration & Asylum Policy
The EU Migration and Asylum policy for the next years will also be reviewed in 2014. Such review framed in the so-called Post-Stockholm Program will be adopted by the Council of the European Union in June 2014. Terre des Hommes is contributing to this debate as individual organization as well as active member of a coalition. Making children on the move a priority in the EU Home Affairs Policy, adopting a comprehensive strategy addressing the situations of all migrant children, ending the immigration detention of all children on the move and ensuring access to services, protection and justice for all migrant children regardless of their migration’s status or the one of their parents are crucial principles to fulfill with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and with children’s opinions. Terre des Hommes will continue channeling such key simple messages to the EU and its Member States.
2014: a turning year for the EU… what about for children?