11/20/07 - EU Marks Universal Children's Day
EUROPEAN UNION MARKS UNIVERSAL CHILDREN'S DAY
November 20, 2007
November 20 marks the day on which the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child (1959), and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989). Both instruments recognize children’s basic human rights and give them protection and support in the development of their personalities. The Convention on the Rights of the Child affirms that a child is not only a fragile being that needs to be protected, but also a person that has a right to be educated, cared for, protected, wherever in the world he/she is born. And also that a child is a person who has the right to have fun, learn and express him- or herself.
Vice-President Franco Frattini, European Commissioner responsible for freedom, security and justice said: "Today we celebrate the 18th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The European Commission joins in highlighting the importance of this Convention and reaffirms its commitment to protecting the rights of vulnerable people such as children, and has resolved to place the Rights of the Child as one of its main priorities."
Furthermore, in regard to European Commission's report on the implementation by Member States of the Council Framework Decision 2004/68/JHA of 22 December 2003 on combating the sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, which finds that most Member States have criminalized sexual exploitation, sexual abuse and child pornography on the Internet, Vice-President Franco Frattini, stated: "The prevention and the fight against sexual exploitation, sexual abuse and child pornography is at the core of our commitment. No area of freedom, security and justice exists if our most vulnerable citizens are exposed to such offences. The approximation of legislation is the first essential step. But we can do more and better. Now we have to strengthen our action and reach more effective results. Recent incidents in Member States show that we have to be more vigilant than ever, and really protect our children."
Vice-President Frattini further congratulated EU countries which mostly meet the key requirements of the Framework Decision. "However, I am disappointed that so many Member States have not transmitted sufficient information about the real implementation of some essential provisions such as the jurisdiction rule which obliges Member States to prosecute sex tourism, and the special treatment of children as particularly vulnerable victims in criminal proceedings" said Vice-President Frattini. "Member States should go further. In certain areas such as child pornography the real level of protection varies in the EU countries depending on the age of consent to sexual relations established by national legislation, which goes from 13 to 17 years", added Vice-President Frattini. "From our side, we are considering the possibility of strengthening the EU legislative framework especially concerning offences committed through the Internet. We are looking at, in particular, the criminalization of "grooming", which is the solicitation of a child for sexual purposes, and the enhancing of international cooperation to detect crime and identify child victims on the Internet".
On the occasion of the International Children's Rights Day, the European Commission has put at media's disposal the following documents:
1. Information containing an overview of the Commission's work in this area, to be found at:
2. "Une aide concrète pour défendre les droits des plus faibles"
3. "Member States Implement EU Legislation to Combat the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Child Pornography. But Member States Can Still Do More"
4. "REPORT from the Commission on the Implementation of the COUNCIL FRAMEWORK DECISION on Combating the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Child Pornography"