Socialists and Democrats led the European Parliament in sending a message that children’s rights must be at the heart of EU policies. The European Parliament last week marked the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, but S&D MEPs want to ensure that the most widely ratified treaty in the world is actually put into practice. The S&D Group is also calling for additional measures, such as the appointment of a special representative dedicated exclusively to children, to guarantee that the rights of all children, but in particular the most vulnerable, are fully respected.
Caterina Chinnici, S&D's co-rapporteur on the resolution, said:
"The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most widely ratified of all international human rights treaties, yet we are failing to fully protect children's rights in Europe and across the globe. There are still too many children who are victims of abuse and exploitation. There are many millions of children at risk of poverty and social exclusion.
The 30th anniversary of the Convention is a chance not just to talk about the challenges facing children, but to rise to them and change children's lives for the better. The S&D Group led the fight on the Child Guarantee, a crucial element of Europe's social pillar to tackle child poverty and marginalisation. As well as dealing with social exclusion, we also want to see the creation of a European centre for the protection of children and a special representative for the rights of the child to make sure that no child is left behind in Europe."
Bettina Vollath, S&D co-rapporteur on the resolution, said:
"Europe needs to be a leading example on children's rights. With so many measures in place to protect children in Europe, whether it's on sexual abuse and exploitation, victims' rights or fighting child poverty, our number one priority must be to ensure that these protections come to life and start doing in practice what is down on paper.
We need to act urgently within the EU to look after the most vulnerable children in society. Faced with war or climate change, children often have no chance. Globally, 30 million children have migrated across borders or have been displaced. One third of the refugees and migrants that have arrived in Europe are children, many unaccompanied. There are currently around 4000 unaccompanied children in Greece in unsafe conditions and enduring degrading treatment. It should not be too much to ask that we simply respect children's rights, especially those who have a hard start in life and who are most at risk of being left behind."