A Word from the Chair

Maria-Andriani Kostopoulou (Greece)

Maria-Andriani KostopoulouIt is a great pleasure and honour to have been elected Chair of the Ad hoc Committee for the Rights of the Child (CAHENF). It is all the more so since the Committee was established to implement the Council of Europe’s commitment to protect the rights of the child as a fully-fledged individual. The Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child, whose implementation is supervised by the CAHENF, is a text which, beyond its operational aspects, has a vital momentum and a truly holistic vision.   

However, despite the progress made in child protection, violations of children’s rights occur every day. There are still shortcomings in the protection provided in legislation and the gap between law and practice is even more significant. In this context, the CAHENF was entrusted with a number of specific tasks, including updating the action plan to implement the Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child, carrying out a mid-term assessment of the implementation of the Strategy in 2019, and taking measures to protect refugee and migrant children in Europe and to protect children against violence.

My colleagues and I intend to take full advantage of the possibilities laid down in our terms of reference and to accomplish the tasks assigned to our Committee in a spirit of collective decision-making and efficiency.

Ad hoc Committee for the Rights of the Child (CAHENF)

The Ad hoc Committee for the Rights of the Child (CAHENF) guides the intergovernmental work in the area of the rights of the child.

Main tasks:

oversee the implementation of the Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child 2016-2021;

promote mainstreaming of children’s rights at the level of the organisation and in member States;

facilitate exchanges of knowledge, good practices and experiences;

provide expertise to support the implementation of the UNCRC and Council of Europe standards on children’s rights;

advise the Committee of Ministers and the Secretary General on appropriate action to be taken and provide advice as requested;

follow the activities of the relevant monitoring and other bodies, in particular the Lanzarote Committee.

The CAHENF has been operating under the supervision of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe since 1 March 2016. Its current Terms of Reference are valid from 1 January 2018 until 31 December 2019.


The Committee is composed of representatives of all 47 member States. Other participants and observers include observer States to the Council of Europe, Council of Europe bodies and committees, other international organisations, and NGOs.

 Terms of Reference of the CAHENF (2016-2017)

 Terms of Reference of the CAHENF (2018-2019)

The CAHENF decided to establish working groups composed of a limited number of experts to support its mandate, namely:


Watch the video statements recorded by the members of the CAHENF to promote the European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse

CAHENF meetings CAHENF meetings