EU Alliance celebrates 25 years of UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Press Release of the EU Alliance for Investing in Children[i] on the occasion of Universal Children’s Day

20 November marks the 25th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Child, which rapidly became the most widely ratified international human rights treaty in history.
When almost 28% of children live at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU,[i] according to the EU Alliance for Investing in Children it is also a day to remind decision makers “to undertake all appropriate legislative, administrative, and other measures” for the implementation of children’s “economic, social and cultural rights to the maximum extent of their available resources”, as the UN Convention says.

Growing up in poverty can negatively affect children’s opportunities for the rest of their lives. In fact, poverty denies children their human rights. The economic, financial and social crisis has been leaving a severe impact on children and families, yet child poverty in Europe was already at unacceptable levels before the crisis hit.

The networks and organisations comprising the EU Alliance are committed to tackling and preventing child poverty and promoting children’s rights and well-being in Europe. We support a rights-based approach that puts the best interests of the child, equal opportunities and support for the most disadvantaged at the centre of efforts to combat child poverty and promote child well-being. Such an approach is described in the Recommendation Investing in Children – Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage[ii] put forward by the European Commission last year. It promotes a comprehensive strategy based on three interconnected pillars: access to adequate resources for children and their families, access to affordable, quality services and children’s participation. It recognises children as individual rights holders.

At our event in the framework of the Annual Convention of the European Platform against Poverty we encouraged all EU Member States to comply with the UNCRC and implement the Recommendation’s proposals of preventative measures aimed at breaking the cycle of disadvantage in a child’s early years.

With appropriate support, the current generation of children who are growing up in deprivation and exclusion will be enabled to reach their full potential, and contribute to a healthy society and the economy in the future.
As Natalia, a 14 year-old girl from Spain mentioned in her opening of the Poverty Convention in Brussels yesterday,
“Not only do have we the right to participate in decisions, but it is a vital necessity of life. It gives us the chance to surprise you adults with our creativity, curiosity, energy and with our ability to empathise, with our honesty... All these are ways we can contribute to shaping this changing world. If you are looking for the best and most generous ideas, you can always ask children.”

[i] Statistical office of the European Union, EU-SILC 2013 http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/income_social_inclusion_living_conditions/data/database
[ii] European Commission Recommendation of 20 February 2013 Investing in Children: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage (2013/112/EU) http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2013:059:0005:0016:EN:PDF

[i] The EU Alliance for Investing in Children is a temporary initiative developed in the framework of ‘Module 1: Facilitation of joint actions’ supported by the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity - PROGRESS / EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation.
Members of the EU Alliance for Investing in Children include:
·         Eurochild
·         Alliance for Childhood
·         ATD Quart Monde
·         Caritas - Europa
·         COFACE – Confederation of Family Organisations in the European Union
·         Don Bosco International
·         Dynamo International – Street Workers Network
·         EAPN – European Anti-Poverty Network
·         EASPD – European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities
·         ELIANT Network
·         ENSA – European Network of Social Authorities
·         EPA - The European Parents Association
·         EPHA -  European Public Health Alliance
·         ESN – European Social Network
·         Eurodiaconia
·         EuroHealthNet
·         European Child Safety Alliance
·         FEANTSA – European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless
·         ISSA - The Intenational Step by Step Association
·         Mental Health Europe
·         PICUM – Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants
·         Save the Children EU Office
·         SOS Children’s Villages International
·         UNICEF EU Office
This programme is implemented by the European Commission. It was established to financially support the implementation of the objectives of the European Union in the employment, social affairs and equal opportunities area, and thereby contribute to the achievement of the Europe 2020 Strategy goals in these fields. The seven-year Programme targets all stakeholders who can help shape the development of appropriate and effective employment and social legislation and policies, across the EU-28, EFTA-EEA and EU candidate and pre-candidate countries. 

For more information see: http://ec.europa.eu/progress

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