Council of Europe launches Strategy for the Rights of the Child
On 2 March 2016, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted the new Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child (2016-2021). Launched at a High Level Conference in Sofia, Bulgaria, in April, it is the third children’s rights strategy of the Council of Europe and it identifies five priority areas for the 47 Member States to focus on:
- Equal opportunities - guaranteeing children’s social rights and countering discrimination through changes to legislation and policy in Member States and using the Council of Europe’s standards and tools to counter discrimination faced by children.
- Participation of children - promoting the child’s right to participate, reaching out to children and strengthening participation in schools. Member States are encouraged to change legislation and policy to implement children’s participation rights and take steps to embed child participation in all relevant contexts. The Council of Europe will pilot a new project - Human Rights and Democracy in Action - and will support Member States to use its Child Participation Assessment Tool.
- A life free from violence - advancing an integrated approach to protection from violence, combating sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, eliminating corporal punishment and protecting children from violence in various settings and forms. Member States are encouraged to change law and policy, in line with Council of Europe’s standards, to greater protect children from violence, including banning corporal punishment. A European day on the protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse will be marked on 18 November each year.
- Child-friendly justice - promoting child-friendly justice, protecting children in the context of deprivation of liberty and focusing on children’s rights in the family. Member States will be urged to change legislation and policy to implement the Council of Europe’s Guidelines on child-friendly justice, take steps to decrease the number of children deprived of liberty and improve detention conditions. The Council of Europe will also encourage Member States to ratify and implement the Third Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure.
- Children’s rights in the digital environment – this focusses on the participation and protection of children in the digital world. Member States should take action to empower children to make use of the full potential of ICT, provide education on digital citizenship and address radicalisation and hate speech. The Council of Europe will also launch a pan-European project on digital citizenship education.
A mid-term evaluation of the Strategy will take place after three years and the Secretariat will report to the Committee of Ministers, every two years, on the Strategy’s implementation. CRAE will be monitoring implementation of the strategy in England.
Download the Strategy for the Rights of the Child (2016-2021) here.