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Protecting children from harm

Realising the EU’s commitment to promote, protect and fulfil children’s rights in external action.

Over 25 years ago, world leaders made a promise to children: to ensure their right to survive, develop, be protected and participate in decisions which affect them. This promise is enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which every Member State has endorsed.

But despite considerable progress, today this promise remains unfulfilled for millions of children who continue to experience violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect – often from people they know and trust – which threaten their survival, development and participation in society.

Protecting children from harm is central to everything Plan International does, and we work hard to translate this into commitment and action at EU level. 

Child-protection systems

The systems approach to child protection – the measures, structures and actors required to prevent and respond to all forms of violence – is frequently misunderstood and generally underfunded.

A systems approach recognises the inter-connectedness of the response needed to protect children from harm and addresses the complex causes and consequences of violence.

It seeks to contribute to comprehensive, lasting change, led by governments that fulfil their primary responsibilities as duty-bearers for all children.

Our calls to the EU

  • The EU must prioritise the protection and promotion of children’s rights in its external action, as outlined in the Human Rights Action Plan, both through its funding and in dialogues with partner countries; 
  • It is essential that the EU takes a systems approach to child protection across all contexts, including during conflict and disasters, in order to most effectively prevent and respond to all forms of violence against children;
  • The EU must use its influence to call on governments to prioritise child protection systems alongside issue specific interventions to ensure that child protection systems are invested in, and the capacity of child protection actors is strenghtened;
  • The EU must ensure that it provides training and capacity-building in child protection to staff at all levels of EU institutions to ensure they are able to promote this approach;
  • All actions identified in the Human Rights Action Plan must be supported with adequate funding – and all Human Rights Country Strategies must translate the Action Plan into practice, with particular attention being paid to the specific local context.