Cooperation with the Council of Europe
The Special Representative collaborates closely with the Council of Europe, an intergovernmental human rights organisation counting 47 member States. The Council of Europe was a major contributor to the preparation of the UN Study on violence against children and, since 2006, has consistently included the elimination of violence as a priority of its transversal programme “Building a Europe for and with children”. A Europe free from violence against children is one of the five strategic objectives of the current Council of Europe Strategy on the Rights of the Child (2016-2021).
According to the Strategy, "In its efforts to address violence against children, the Council of Europe will continue to act as a regional driver of initiatives to promote the implementation of the recommendations of the UN Secretary General’s Study on Violence against Children and to support the mandate of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Violence against Children".
The Strategy includes action to:
- promote an integrated approach to the protection from violence,
- to combat sexual exploitation, sexual abuse and trafficking as well as to eliminate corporal punishment, bullying, cyberbullying, gender-based violence and to protect children from violent extremism.
The Special Representative regularly and strategically engages with the various Council of Europe bodies and institutions, including its Committee of Ministers, the Parliamentary Assembly and several intergovernmental and monitoring bodies. The richness of Council of Europe contribution to the elimination of violence against children includes several legally binding treaties, policy guidelines and recommendations, monitoring of States compliance with international standards, training and capacity building programmes and two major campaigns (against corporal punishment and against sexual abuse).
The result of this work is made available at the Council of Europe website: www.coe.int/children
Cooperation with the European Union
The Special Representative works with the European Union, with a view to advance the development of the European Union strategy on the rights of the child, under preparation by the Commission, and the further implementation of the 2007 European Union Guidelines for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of the Child and its strategy to fight violence against children.
The promotion and protection of the rights of the child is one of the objectives of the EU on which the Treaty of Lisbon has put further emphasis. Notably, Article 3(3) of the Treaty on European Union explicitly requires the EU to promote the protection of the rights of the child.
On 15 February 2011, the European Union established an Agenda for the Rights of the Child, listing 11 actions that the Commission would take over the coming years. The initiative aimed to reaffirm the strong commitment of EU institutions and Member States to promoting, protecting and fulfilling the rights of the child in all relevant EU policies and to turn them into concrete results. In the future, EU policies that affect children directly or indirectly should be designed, implemented, and monitored taking into account the principle of children’s best interests.
In November 2010, the Special Representative met the Vice President of the European Commission, Viviane Reding. The meeting was a strategic opportunity to address areas of shared concern, including the inclusion of children’s protection from violence in the above-mentioned strategy on the rights of the child, the consolidation of legislation and other actions for the protection of girls from harmful practices, and the safeguard of the rights of child victims of incidents of violence.
In the framework of the partnership developed with the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency, the Special Representative participated in the conference on the theme “Ensuring justice and protection for all children”, held in Brussels on 7 and 8 December 2010, and organized with the Belgian Presidency of the European Union. Attended by a vast network of Government officials, academics and child rights experts, intergovernmental and civil society, the meeting gave prominent attention to violence prevention and the promotion of ethical and child-sensitive approaches to counselling and support for child victims of violence.
In November 2017, the Special Representative participated in the EU Forum on the Rights of the Child devoted to the theme “children deprived of liberty and alternatives to detention”, which addressed areas of critical concern, namely children deprived of liberty in justice institutions, in the context of migration and in care institutions, as well as children of parents in prison. These discussions gained a special relevance in support of the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty, called for the UN General Assembly 69/157.
Council of Europe Committee of Ministers
Committee of Ministers Recommendation on measures to protect children against harmful content and behaviour and to promote their active participation in the new information and communications environment (2009)
Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
Council of Europe Conferences
Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - A Special Place for Children in the EU External Action
Human Rights Standards