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Children's Rights
Building a Europe for and with children
January 2020
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The Council of Europe protects and promotes the human rights of everyone, including children. Based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the European Convention on Human Rights and other legal standards, the Council of Europe promotes and protects the rights of 150 million children in Europe.
Let’s all catch up with a world for children! Best wishes for 2020 to all our partners from the Children’s Rights Division.
Conference "Redefining power: strengthening the rights of the child as the key to a future-proof Europe"
On 13-14 November 2019 the Children’s Rights Division, in the framework of the French Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, organised a major event in Strasbourg, gathering more than 300 representatives from international organisations, national governments, civil society organisations, other child rights' activists including a group of children and young people.

International experts presented powerful and thought-provoking speeches in a series of “Power Talks” to provide insight into various current and upcoming children’s rights issues including:
  • the rights of the child in the digital environment, both in terms of protection from online risks and access to new opportunities;
  • addressing violence against children, including violence by children against their peers;
  • child participation, child activism and child safeguarding;
  • consideration of children’s best interest in ethical media reporting and in judicial proceedings related to family affairs;
  • consideration of the best interest of the child in parental separation and divorce.
In early 2020, a detailed mid-term evaluation of the Strategy for the rights of the child (2016-2021) will be published on our website.
Strategic Focus 2020
In 2020, the Council of Europe intergovernmental work on the rights of the child will focus on completing the first of two final years of the current Strategy and the preparation of the new Strategy. This work will be led by the new Steering Committee for the Rights of the Child (CDENF). Next to pursuing activities under different priority areas of the Strategy with internal and external partners, the focus of intergovernmental activities will be set on some of the “blind spots” of public action identified through expert meetings in 2018/2019 and confirmed by stakeholders present at the Mid-term evaluation conference of the Strategy in November 2019:
  • considering the best interest of the child in parental separation and divorce;
  • supporting children committing violence against other children or showing harmful sexual behaviour towards others;
  • developing effective reporting mechanisms on violence against children;
  • promoting the participation of children as activists of their own rights and human rights defenders, and related child safeguarding policies.
The Lanzarote Committee plans to complete its second round of monitoring on “The protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse facilitated by information and communication technologies (ICTs)”, by adopting a report highlighting promising practices, identifying shortcomings and recommending the way forward.
2019 edition: Empowering children to stop sexual violence
The 2019 edition focused on the specific theme of “Empowering children to stop sexual violence” since children are all too often sidelined from matters that concern them. They should be given the means, space, opportunity and support to participate in the design and implementation of measures, policies, programmes or other initiatives aiming at preventing and responding to sexual exploitation and sexual abuse.  The Council of Europe offered its partners a set of tools in order to help them in their activities:
  • A facilitators tool kit to implement child participation 
  • A child friendly explanation of the European Day
  • A social media kit
Many activities of various kinds have been organised by the partners of the European Day. There were approximately 127 activities carried out in a total of 22 countries, as well as by 2 international NGOs and 4 Council of Europe bodies. They can be found on the webpage for the 2019 Edition of the European Day. Should your activity not be mentioned here, please contact the Secretariat (EndChildSexAbuseDay@coe.int).
How do we prevent and combat online child sexual exploitation and abuse?
No single state can prevent and combat online child sexual exploitation and abuse alone. Under the Council of Europe Project “End Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse @Europe (EndOCSEA@Europe)”, supported by the Fund to End Violence Against Children, two new reports seek to identify practice examples of ways to respond to this crime. A Baseline Mapping of member states responses, a Comparative Review of mechanisms for collective action at international and Pan-European levels and the child-friendly booklet for teenagers (ages 12+) "So, this is sexual abuse?" were published during a workshop on OCSEA which took place within the framework of the Octopus Conference “Co-operation Against Cybercrime” (20-22 November 2019).
News from the Lanzarote Committee
At its 25th meeting, held in Cyprus from 15 to 18 October 2019, the Lanzarote Committee adopted a Declaration on protecting children in out-of-home care from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse in which it calls on States, in particular, to strengthen and support families before resorting to out-of-home care. The Committee also participated in a capacity-building event on multidisciplinary approach and interagency cooperation in Cyprus to protect children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (Nicosia, 15 October 2019).
Two clicks forward. One click back.
Ahead of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December 2019, the Council of Europe presented a new report focusing on children with disabilities in the digital environment. The report describes the experiences of children with intellectual, physical, hearing and visual impairments. It analyses the challenges they face and provides recommendations to the States, digital industry, health services and academic institutions on how to ensure the safe access to the digital environment for these children.
Child Poverty: Declaration by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe
In a declaration adopted on 11 December 2019, the Committee of Ministers calls on member states to:
  • implement the Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child (2016-2021);
  • review the objectives and funding of services such as child protection, education, social services and social protection programmes;
  • improve child protection services, taking into account particularly vulnerable situations (e.g. children without parental care, single-parent families, children with disabilities, Roma children, and refugee and migrant children);
  • take into account the needs of children and encourage their participation in the development of child protection policies.
Committee of Ministers adopts recommendation to make guardianship for unaccompanied children in migration situations more effective
The Committee of Ministers has adopted a Recommendation to member States of the Council of Europe on effective guardianship for unaccompanied and separated children in the context of migration.
This Recommendation seeks to ensure that unaccompanied and separated children’s rights and their best interests are respected in line with international and European standards. It also seeks to ensure that guardianship is effectively provided and is appropriate to the rights and specific needs of the children concerned.
Ministers of Education adopt declarations on digital citizenship education
On 26 November 2019, Ministers of Education of States Parties to the European Cultural Convention gathered in Paris at the invitation of the French Presidency of the Committee of Ministers to adopt a Declaration on Citizenship in the digital age, which complements the Recommendation adopted by the Committee of Ministers’ Deputies on 21 November 2019.
Council of Europe's newest publications
Upcoming events in 2020
Council of Europe cooperation project in Moldova
Protective teachers, protected children. Preventing child sexual abuse in kindergarten. Kiko and the Hand Training for kindergarten teachers
Chisinau, 22-23 January 2020

1st meeting of the Steering Committee for the Rights of the Child (CDENF)
Strasbourg, 4-6 February 2020

Council of Europe cooperation project in Moldova
National conference on combating child sexual exploitation and abuse for social workers and other frontline professionals
Chisinau, 25-26 February 2020

Council of Europe cooperation project in Moldova
Workshop on Assessing the State’s response to child sexual exploitation and abuse, including in the digital dimension: challenges and necessities
Chisinau, 27 February 2020

Council of Europe cooperation project in Moldova
Steering Committee meeting of the Council of Europe project on Protecting children from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse in the Republic of Moldova
Chisinau, 27 February 2020

Slovenia: Support for the Implementation of Barnahus/Children's House, Phase II
Kick off meeting Barnahus Phase II
Ljubljana, March 2020

End OCSEA@Europe project
Workshops on child-friendly practices and law enforcement agency capacities to support and co-ordinate investigations
Armenia, Ukraine, March 2020

26th meeting of the Committee of the Parties to the Council of Europe Convention on the protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (Lanzarote Committee)
Strasbourg, 10-12 March 2020

High Level Conference on Child friendly Justice/Restorative Justice for Children, under the Georgian Chairmanship
Strasbourg, 23 March 2020
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