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Monsieur le Président du Comité de Lanzarote,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very pleased to participate in this meeting of your Network. As always the week of the PACE session is very hectic, and I apologise for arriving a bit late at your meeting today due to other commitments.
I am confident that you have already had an interesting exchange with Mr Ruelle and Ms Fiala on how to best monitor the fight against sexual violence in your countries and at European level.
Monitoring reminds the national authorities of their obligations so that the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse of children is kept high on the political agenda.
It also stimulates in-depth analysis of the situation at the national level, in co-operation with the authorities and with the participation of other stakeholders.
The Council of Europe's monitoring mechanisms highlight good practices and provide guidance on how to solve the problems. They also serve as valuable fora for voicing shared concerns, identifying trends and promoting international solidarity and commitment.
The Secretary General has taken an important initiative to better exploit the potential of all our monitoring mechanisms by using their results to identify the most pressing problems in individual member States and trends affecting all or many member States.
It is a non-political initiative based on dialogue with the objective to work together with the authorities in question, both when it comes to identifying challenges and to drawing up their possible solutions. It includes preparing tailor-made follow-up programmes and activities to be carried out in co-operation with the national authorities.
I believe that the Lanzarote Committee's monitoring work is of particular interest in this regard.
This Committee is composed of representatives of the states that are Parties to the Convention, and its primary task is of course to evaluate the situation at the national level and to make recommendations on the basis of information provided by the authorities and other sources.
In addition, the Lanzarote Committee has proved its value as an observatory of good practices and a place for its members to discuss them in depth. In this sense it offers a true capacity-building service to its members.
Finally, I would like to emphasise that the Lanzarote Committee is an inclusive Committee that constantly interacts with civil society and other stakeholders. Its thematic approach is valuable for identifying issues, trends and possible solutions, and the Committee provides the international community with a valuable opportunity to develop the agenda for the fight against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children.
I would like to use this opportunity to also report on the most recent progress with regard to our work on the Lanzarote Convention, the ONE in FIVE Campaign and children's rights.
Since your last meeting in June we have seen another surge of interest in bringing the ONE in FIVE Campaign to a wider public, from many countries and from different sectors. I am sure that this to a great extent is thanks to the wonderful campaigning that has taken place in parliamentary events, for example in Greece, Cyprus and Portugal. I am pleased to hear that events will soon also be organised in Turkey and Ukraine.
Also the increasing number of ratifications of the Lanzarote Convention shows that the main aim of the Campaign is progressively being achieved. I had the pleasure of receiving the instrument of ratification from the Slovenian minister of the Interior, Mr Gregor Virant, last week, and the number of State Parties has now reached 29.
Last month, the Council of Europe was actively participating in the conference on child abuse organised by the International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect in Dublin. This event with more than 700 participants was an ideal platform for exchanging practices and experiences and for comparing situations between continents and between practitioners.
I am also pleased to inform you that in line with your previous deliberations, our Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS) is co-organising a conference in Budapest with the Hungarian Secretariat of Sport on the topic of "Inclusion and Protection of Children in and through Sport". The Council of Europe ONE in FIVE Campaign is a key element of the conference. The Greek member of the Lanzarote Committee, whom you also heard in June on this topic, will be among the speakers, and your fellow Parliamentary Assembly member and ardent ONE in FIVE campaigner, Ms Elena Rapti from Greece, will participate.
Allow me to conclude my intervention by saying that the Council of Europe is steadily contributing to the aim of breaking the taboos around sexual violence inflicted on children.
You as parliamentarians are at the heart of this process. Your Network is instrumental in the ONE in FIVE campaign and for the ratification process of the Lanzarote Convention. I am confident that it will keep up the pressure!
Thank you very much for your attention.