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PACE strikes back at violence against children

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe debated  its report on "Child victims: stamping out all forms of violence, exploitation and abuse of child victims" at its morning session of Tuesday 23 January.  The report calls for reinforcing and devising new domestic measures to step up the protection of children from violence. Despite Europe's many legal instruments in this field,  the reality lived by a substantial number of children is something quite different. The debates resulted in the adoption of Recommendation 1778  and Resolution 1530 on child victims: stamping out all forms of violence, exploitation and abuse.

The alarming figures for sexual abuse in the family, child trafficking, forced labour, severe corporal and psychological punishment  in care institutions and at home do not exclude Europe and the industrialised countries. Two children per week die of maltreatment in Germany and the United Kingdom, and three in France.

The report, which fully supports  the approach adopted by the programme "Building a Europe for and with Children" was issued by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights (rapporteur: Jean-Charles Gardetto).

Following the report, Unicef's Executive Director Ann Veneman, HRH the Princess of Hanover  and Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg made statements. The princess, whose longstanding committment to children's causes is well known,  spoke in her capacity as  president of the World Association of Children's Friends (AMADE). 

Ann Veneman:  video speech - text of speech 
HRH the Princess of Hanover: video speech - text of speech in French
Thomas Hammarberg: speech

Other events

Two other significant events for children's rights also took place on this day. Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe  and Ms Veneman signed a  joint declaration reinforcing co-operation between the Council of Europe and Unicef. Joint work between the two organisations will include devising strategies, research, data collection and policy development. See joint declaration. 

Following the Assembly debate, there was a  brief ceremony to launch  the "United Nations Study on Violence against Children" in Europe. It  took place in the Lobby of the Assembly Debating Chamber and speakers included Assembly president René van der Linden, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe  Maud de Boer-Buquicchio and  Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, the UN's independent expert appointed to write the study.
René van der Linden: speech
Maud de Boer-Buquicchio: speech
Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro: speech

The programme  "Building a Europe for and with children"  invited about 60 elementary school children to attend the Assembly debate. The children's delegations came from the Jean Fischart School, the International School Robert Schuman and  the Children's Municipal Council of Schiltgheim. The latter  had a private meeting with HRH the Princess of Hanover , Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro and Ms de Boer-Buquicchio and attended the launch ceremony.

Group photo at the launch ceremony with children elected to the Children's Municipal Council of Schiltigheim:
Press: Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace  / Euronews