On 3 May 2017, the Ministers´ Deputies approved the draft Council of Europe Action Plan on protecting refugee and migrant children in Europe. Coordinated by the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Migration and Refugees, Ambassador Tomáš Boček, the Organisation-wide Action Plan aims at addressing the main concerns identified in the SRSG’s Thematic Report on migrant and refugee children. The Action Plan proposes concrete support to member states at all stages of the migration process. Different sectors of the Council of Europe will contribute to the implementation of the Action Plan, including those dealing with children´s rights, education, sports, youth participation and the media. The Action Plan is expected to be adopted at the 127th Session of the Committee of Ministers in Nicosia on 19 May 2017.
On 24 April 2017, the Special Representative delivered the keynote speech at a “High-level meeting on Europe’s challenge to ensure a rights perspective for children in migration”, organised in the Swedish Parliament by the Swedish Ombudsman for Children and the Children’s Welfare Foundation. The SRSG, drawing on his on-the-ground experience, stressed that many European countries’ migration-management systems are not sufficiently child-friendly. Moreover, various member states face challenges in providing refugee and migrant children with proper access to information and education and with adequate age-assessment procedures and guardians, whenever the latter are needed. The meeting was attended by the Swedish Minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality, representatives of government agencies from different European countries, the Council of Europe (notably its Children´s Rights Division), UNICEF and EU.
On 25 April 2017, the Executive Secretary of the European Committee of Social Rights, Mr Regis Brillat, held in Ankara, an exchange of views with the Turkish Ministry for Labour and Social Security on the follow-up to several recommendations in the Special Representative’s report on Turkey. Future training activities on the European Social Charter and on good practices on work permits for migrants were discussed. The Office of the SRSG was present at the meeting.
On 28 April 2017, Ambassador Boček delivered a speech at the high-level seminar on “Freedom of Religion in Europe: achievements and perspectives”, organised in Strasbourg by the Permanent Representation of San Marino to the Council of Europe and the Council on International Law and Politics. Other speakers were Mr Nicola Renzi, Minister for Foreign and Political Affairs and Justice of San Marino, Mr Guido Raimondi, President of the European Court of Human Rights, and Ms Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe. Freedom of religion in the context of migration in Europe was one of the topics explored during the event.