Renewed efforts needed to safeguard child rights

Many children across the EU continue to suffer from poverty, discrimination or violence, despite EU and national efforts. As EU bodies prepare for a new Commission and Parliamentary elections, FRA reminds future EU policy makers of the need for child rights to remain on their political agendas.

“In many parts of our society today, children are being neglected. Children from certain groups, such as Roma and migrants are marginalised, and will continue to be so, unless we act now to end the current cycle of deprivation,” said FRA Director, Morten Kjaerum, when marking the anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on 20 November. “European and national policy makers need to renew their efforts to effectively protect child rights. A common European framework would be a significant step forward to guide Member States safeguard the rights of all children across the EU. ”

The EU has established regulations, directives and action plans in different child rights’ areas covering unaccompanied children, safer internet and sexual exploitation. It has also adopted the EU Agenda on the Rights of the Child. Although these efforts are helpful, the national situation shows that much still needs to be done.

FRA’s research has also shown how certain groups of children are at greater risk. For example, one out of ten Roma children of compulsory school age in Greece and Romania work outside their home, collecting objects for reselling or recycling, or begging on the street for money. Irregular migrant children have access to the same healthcare as national children in only two of the ten countries surveyed by FRA. Currenty, FRA is also looking into violence and hostility directed at children with disabilities across all EU Member States. This work also aims to identify promising practices that should help improve the situation. In addition, FRA is helping to develop child-friendly justice procedures that will guide EU bodies and Member States in addressing the needs of children during judicial proceedings.