"The urgency for investing in an effective protection of children’s rights is more relevant than ever" - SRSG Maalla M'jid joins Council of Europe launch of new Strategy for the Rights of the Child

Rome, Italy, April 6 2022 - Special Representative Maalla M’jid addressed the participants of the High-level Launching Conference for the new Strategy for the Rights of the Child entitled “Beyond the horizon: a new era for the rights of the child”  co-organized by the Council of Europe and the Italian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers.

“The launch of the Strategy comes at a crossroad and critical moment, while the urgency for investing in an effective protection of children’s rights is more relevant than ever.” said Dr. Maalla M'jid.

In her remarks, Special Representative Maalla M'jid highlighted that progress in the protection of children’s rights has been slowed or even reversed by the pandemic and ongoing humanitarian crisis. She drew attention to an unprecedented level of forced displacement of children worldwide, mentioning that “millions of children have been affected by long-term conflicts in countries such as Syria, Myanmar, Yemen, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and the Sahel region. In Ukraine, in just a few weeks 2 million children have been forced to flee life-threatening attacks on their homes, schools and communities, with additional 2.5 million children displaced within country.”

“It is a global scourge that we need to do all in our power to stop, before it risks evolving in a global child rights ‘crisis,” added the SRSG. She called for a wide mobilization and strong multi-stakeholder partnerships, underlining the need to move away from siloed and unsustainable actions to a child, gender sensitive and integrated approach and investments in cross-sectoral systems and services that are accessible to all children without discrimination. This approach, according to Dr. Najat Maalla echoes the interdependence of children’s rights and of the Sustainable Development Goals, ensuring complementarity between humanitarian, security, peace, and people-centered development.  

The Special Representative also highlighted that “children are key partners and must be seen as part of solution. They were involved in the design of the newly adopted Strategy and must be involved in the monitoring of its implementation.” She concluded by reminding the participants that only eight years remain to achieve the goals of Agenda 2030 andto  keep the promise made to children.

Over the next six years, the “Rome Strategy” will guide the Council of Europe and its member states in delivering on six strategic objectives for protecting and promoting the rights of the child, including freedom from violence, equal opportunities and social inclusion, access to and safe use of technologies, child-friendly justice for all children, giving a voice to every child and children’s rights in crisis and emergency situations.

Participants of the Conference had a chance to discuss the recent developments and significant challenges impacting the rights of the child and express their commitment and vision for the implementation of the new Strategy over the next six years. Most importantly young delegates and children from different Council of Europe Member States had a chance to take the stage and present their vision for “a new era for the rights of the child.”

Young delegates commended the organizers for the opportunity to " making our voice heard" and "be able to talk about the things we want and things we want to change“ and asked to be more involved in decision-making processes and to be "taken seriously". However, the protection from violence remains a top concern for children across regions, including online.  "We have more opportunities to connect with each other through information technologies, however for many children this relation with technologies leads to many concerns, insecurities and situations affecting mental health” added Viktoriya, a Young Delegate participating in the conference.