Today marks 30 years of the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child – a landmark human rights treaty. It changed how adults view and treat children. But despite considerable progress in Europe, basic challenges, such as child poverty, remain.
The world now is not as it was when the Convention first came out.
Take digitalisation. It has reshaped our lives. Today, children can communicate like never before, reaching masses of people instantly.
But this brings risks. Children now leave a growing digital footprint that can be shared and abused.
There is also the question of Europe’s disadvantaged children – children from a migrant background, Roma children, children with disabilities, and children in precarious family situations. They often experience inadequate living conditions or hunger, or miss out educational opportunities that can hinder their future prospects, as FRA’s work underlines.
The time is ripe for a new EU-wide child rights strategy.
Encouragingly, European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen instructed the Commission to prepare a comprehensive child rights strategy. It should include actions to protect vulnerable children, protect their rights online, foster child-friendly justice, prevent and combat violence towards children and encourage children to take part in political processes.
The European Commission also supports the European Parliament’s initiative to establish a child guarantee scheme. This would ensure that Member States grant all children access to the services they need and support them through to adulthood.
FRA will continue to support the EU and Member States promote and protect child rights, so they can honour their commitments under the Child Rights Convention.
It will continue to provide them with wide-ranging evidence-based advice, technical assistance and capacity building, as our recent brochure shows.
With the new European Commission about to start, this anniversary should herald a new beginning to build on what has been achieved and fully address the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s 21st century children.