Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament,the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - An EU Agenda for the Rights of the Child
The EESC welcomes the "EU Agenda for the Rights of the Child" and expresses its hope that this will be a starting point in the full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the fullest possible mainstreaming of children's rights.
The EESC recommends that programmes established to ensure enforcement and protection of child rights are in synergy and interact with other EU programmes (on education, youth, integration of the Roma, combating poverty, child-friendly justice, inter-generational solidarity, external relations.
The Committee feels that greater use should be made of data and information such as reports by governments and civil society organisations drawn up for the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. The EESC recommends that the EU cooperate closely with the Council of Europe in order to create synergies between their programmes.
Proper participation by children in the preparation of decisions concerning them and in the evaluation of programmes is necessary. It is also essential to incorporate the views of professional organisations and professionals working with children.
The EESC recommends that the EU pay particular attention to protecting and enforcing the rights of especially vulnerable groups of children at both national and European levels.
The EESC condemns any use of violence against children, including disciplinary violence in the home: the Committee urges all member States to outlaw the corporal punishment of children and reiterates the call for a Special Representative.
The Committee feels it is particularly important to disseminate and teach child rights: special attention should be paid to the training of those working with children and families together with parents and children themselves. The Member States should support families in every way possible as it is in the paramount interest of the child.
The EESC calls for protected hearings for children who are victims of sexual abuse or who are involved in their parents' divorce proceedings. Testimonies should avoid exposing children to additional trauma and should be conducted with the assistance of specifically-trained professional experts.
Child poverty, deprivation, discrimination and exclusion are some of the most serious obstacles to enforcing child rights; the EESC therefore reiterates the recommendation that special attention be paid in these fields to implementing, monitoring and evaluating programmes in close connection with the Europe 2020 strategy's objectives on reducing poverty and on all forms of education. Priority should always be given to child-related policies and actions.
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