Rights of the Child: from Paper into Practice

13/11/2009
Co-chaired by Jacques Barrot and Luc Van Den Brande, Rights of the Child will be the focus of a joint Committee of the Regions (CoR) and European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) conference in Brussels on 13 November. The conference takes place as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child celebrates its 20th Anniversary and the Lisbon Treaty begins its journey to make children's rights legally binding in the EU, as enshrined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.  The important question to be addressed is how such texts make a difference on the ground.

Alongside Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security Jacques Barrot and CoR President Luc Van den Brande, discussions will bring together both institutional and association representatives, local and regional politicians, practitioners and representatives from civil society, academia and international institutions such as Unicef. The conference aims to exchange evidence of good practices from concrete projects carried out at local and regional level, promote benchmarking and foster debate on developing policy orientations in this field.

The new legal context, together with the role of local and regional authorities in implementing these laws, will be at the centre of the debates. The themes addressed in the event will include issues such as the right to education, in particular for vulnerable categories of children, as well as the fight against child abuse and trafficking and the use of indicators to measure the implementation of these rights by local and regional authorities.

Recent FRA reports on ‘Developing indicators for the protection, respect and promotion of the rights of the child in the European Union' and ‘Child Trafficking in the EU - Challenges, perspectives and good practices' will be discussed during the conference.

FRA Director Morten Kjaerum: "There remains a large gap between the rights proclaimed in human rights law on the one hand, and the ability of people to exercise these rights on the other. To close this implementation deficit, good interaction between the European, national and local levels is crucial. We must ensure that each level of government adds value to the protection of vulnerable groups in our societies."

CoR President Luc Van den Brande :  "The local and regional dimension is crucial to the fulfilment of the EU goals in the field of the rights of the child, given the specific key responsibilities of local and regional authorities for protecting and promoting the rights of the child across most EU Member States. Furthermore, in view of the key developments lying ahead of us in this area after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, it is even more crucial to ensure that all relevant actors at all levels of governance participate in a joint and constant effort to protect individuals' fundamental rights and implement them correctly."

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Media Release - Rights of the Child: from Paper into Practice

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