Council of Europe adopts new strategy on the rights of the child 2016-2021

Date: 29th June 2016
Category: Other human rights treaties and mechanisms

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has adopted the Strategy for the Rights of the Child for the next six years.

Children's rights are facing serious challenges: many children on the move or otherwise affected by migration are suffering and dying. Poverty, inequality and exclusion as a result of the economic crisis have hit children hard. Violence against children - in the family, at schools and in other settings is still a persistent reality. A justice system made for adults is ill-adapted to children's needs and expectations. Racism, hate speech and radicalisation are on the rise. Growing up in a digital world exposes children to new risks.

The new Council of Europe Strategy (adopted by the Committee of Ministers late on 2 March) guides the 47 member States of the Council of Europe to address these challenges. The Strategy was drafted by policy makers and experts from member States in a truly participatory process, taking into account the views not only of civil society, but also of children themselves. Five strategy priorities include:

  • Equal opportunities for all children: fighting poverty and preventing exclusion, especially in the times of economic austerity; countering discrimination, including against children affected by migration, children with disabilities, those from minority groups, as well as LGBT and intersex children.
  • Participation of all children in policy-making processes: citizenship and human rights education in schools.
  • A life free of violence for all children: combatting sexual exploitation and abuse; eliminating of corporal punishment in all settings; countering other forms of violence - bullying, including homophobic and cyber-bullying, and protecting children from radicalization-linked violence.
  • Child-friendly justice: protecting children deprived of liberty through anti-criminalization and reintegration, safeguarding children's rights in the family.
  • Rights of the child in the digital environment: promoting creative, critical and safe use of the Internet.

The new Strategy will be launched at a High Level Conference in Sofia on 5 and 6 April 2016, during the Bulgarian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers.