In a Declaration adopted today, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe observed that, in times of crisis, States and society at large are at risk of overlooking or compromising on children’s rights, particularly those of children in a situation of vulnerability.
Reiterating its firm commitment to the rights of the child, the Committee of Ministers called on the Council's member States to take the necessary steps to guarantee children's access to justice, including through strengthening reporting and referral mechanisms as well as access to effective remedies. The States must also protect the child’s best interests when children are in conflict with the law and without parental care, including in the context of parental separation and child-care proceedings, migration and violent extremism. It further stressed the need to address the root causes and the impact of child poverty and social exclusion, as well as the violence and discrimination to which they may fall victim. There was also emphasis on the role of private-sector players and the need to be able to hold them accountable for violations of children’s rights.
The Committee of Ministers called on the 47 member States to ratify the Council's convention on the protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, its convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence and the optional protocols to the United Nations Convention on the rights of the child.