Protecting children deserve the full attention of the Human Rights Council

Such is the main message which was delivered by Terre des Hommes at the 31st session of the Human Rights Council (29 February – 24 March 2016). This message was expressed through statements on sexual exploitation of children through ICT, on children on the move and on child related matters to the Sustainable Development Goals. Terre des Hommes also organised a side-event on Mega Sporting Events and human rights.

Child sexual exploitation through the ICT (information and communications technology)

In too many countries law enforcement is required to tackle this 21st century form of crime against children with outdated and ineffective methodologies. Urgent measures are therefore required to review the mandate of law enforcement as well as the legal framework in which they operate to ensure that they will be able to fight these crimes in an effective manner.

Children on the move

Terre des Hommes recalled that children on the move need more than a roof. They are entitled to receive specific care provided by trained personnel, able to perceive their migrating paths and to respond according to a clear legal framework. Children on the move went through thousands kilometres and countless ordeals – including detention – when services finally meet with them. These services will be adapted if they take into consideration what children say.

Children rights and Mega Sporting Events

Terre des Hommes and Nosso Jogo organised a side-event to discuss about the challenge in the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights applied to sport governing bodies. By referring to concrete processes at the ongoing preparation of Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic Games 2016, Terre des Hommes highlighted how children and families in Brazil are being impacted by the games and called for concrete solutions from states, sport federations, the UN and civil society actors.

The 31st session of the Council brought solid results. At the same time it highlighted that the universality of human rights worldwide is far from being achieved, and that all too often there is not enough attention conferred to children in international debates. The Human Rights Council adopted 37 resolutions, two decisions and one Presidential Statement. Children’s rights were the subject of the text on information and communications technologies and child sexual exploitation, while in another resolution the Council asked that States provide for effective remedies for human rights violations and abuses related to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.

This year marked the 10th anniversary of the Human Rights Council which clearly continues to play a paramount role in the UN human rights system. It represents a forum in which Terre des Hommes advocates for children’s rights and bring their views and opinions in international debates so as to inform decisions which may have an impact upon them.