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European Parliament 'key role' in protecting children's rights

5 June 2015
The European Parliament can be a strong ally in efforts to ensure the promotion and protection of children's rights in EU external action.

What’s the definition of a child? What rights do children have? How do these differ from adults? What is the rights-based approach to development?

These were just some of the issues we addressed during a training for MEP assistants and political advisors, organised in partnership with Eurochild. The training was designed to enhance participants understanding of children’s rights, based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and what this means in their day to day work.

Children are one third of the global population, yet they are disproportionately affected by poverty and inequality

Children are one third of the global population, yet they are disproportionately affected by poverty and inequality – a fact which was illustrated by a group “Powerwalk”, which demonstrated the challenges children face and their relative status in society. The gap between the five year old Somali girl and the 32-year-old Japanese software designer was clear for all to see.

Following the Lisbon Treaty, the promotion and protection of children’s rights is included in both the internal and external objectives of the Union. The European Parliament has an important role to play in defending human rights, and ensuring children’s rights are promoted and protected in EU policies.

Whether through ensuring policy coherence for development or acting as a budgetary watchdog, the Parliament can and should push the European Commission to ensure children’s rights are a priority in EU external action.

The creation of the Intergroup on Children’s Rights, co-chaired by EPP deputy Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, provides a platform to ensure children’s rights are mainstreamed across all policy sectors in internal and external affairs – particularly through the appointment of children’s rights focal points in each committee.

The Intergroup was created in December 2014, following advocacy efforts of Plan and Eurochild, together with 13 other child rights organisations that contributed to the Child Rights Manifesto.

The training provided participants with a snapshot of the issues, and we will continue to work closely with the Parliament to broaden and deepen their understanding of children’s rights to ensure the best interests of the child are reflected in all EU policies and funding.