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Brussels, 31 July 2008

"The right of the child to protection":
Commission launches competition open to all young people in the European Union

"The right of the child to protection" is the title of a competition launched today, 31 July 2008, by Jacques Barrot, Vice-President of the European Commission with responsibility for justice, freedom and security. European children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 18 are invited to design a poster on the right of children to protection in the European Union. The aim of the competition is to ensure that these young European citizens are more aware of their right to protection and are better equipped to defend it.

"Guaranteeing children's rights and raising awareness of these rights, in particular the right to protection enjoyed by all children and adolescents who are citizens or residents of the EU, are objectives shared by the EU and its Member States", according to Vice-President Barrot. "Being entitled to say "I HAVE THE RIGHT TO PROTECTION!" and to actually be heard means, for young people, asserting a fundamental European value. This is why, as part of this competition, I am encouraging young people to work together in teams on the theme of their right to protection so that they are more aware of this right and are better equipped to invoke it".

Those wishing to take part in the competition will have to design a poster illustrating the idea of their right to their own protection in the EU. Participants will be divided into two age categories (10-14 and 15-18) and must work in groups of at least four.

The entries will be judged first at national level, and prizes will be awarded to the three best teams in each age category at ceremonies to be held in each country on 20 November, International Children’s Rights Day.

The winners of the first prize in the national competition will compete in a second round at European level. The three top teams in each age group will be invited to visit Brussels from 7 to 9 December for a tour of the city and the European institutions and to attend a European award ceremony hosted by Vice-President Barrot.

The best posters will be displayed on the websites of the Commission’s representations in the Member States and on the Europa server. They may also be used in future European campaigns on the rights of children, including the right to protection.

This initiative is particularly timely given that it is in keeping with the Commission’s policy to defend all rights and its determination to integrate this into all of its internal and external policies.

Further information may be found on the Internet site, which contains links to the competition site.

This new competition follows two organised earlier, the first one in 2006 on the assertion of children's rights in general, and the second one in 2007 on the rejection of discrimination. No fewer than 2 000 teams in 2006 and over 6 000 in 2007 from all over the EU took up the challenge under the headings "SPEAK UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS!" and "TOGETHER AGAINST DISCRIMINATION!" and submitted designs for a poster on the rights of the child and on non-discrimination. The best of these, which can be found on the site, might also be used in future European campaigns.

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