Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, Neven Mimica, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management and Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality made the following statement:
"Today as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the UN Convention on the rights of the child, we wholeheartedly welcome the unprecedented global support for this important Convention.
This year we celebrate the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the young Pakistani activist for female education Malala Yousafzai and to the Indian child right's activist Kailash Satyarthi. Both have fought courageously for the girls' right to education which the EU considers as the best investment we can make in development.
Children have always been and remain at the heart of EU policy. Inspired by the Convention, the EU promotes children's rights through specific Guidelines as well as through the EU Agenda for the rights of the child for internal action.
In the same spirit, the EU decided to launch the EU Children of Peace initiative after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012. So far, more than 108,000 children have benefitted from this humanitarian project ensuring education for children affected by conflict. Their number will grow as the initiative continues and more Member States join.
The EU strives daily to protect children from harmful traditional practices such as Female Genital Mutilation and the Child, Early and Forced Marriage. At the Girl Summit held last July in London, the EU announced funding of more than €100 million for the next seven years to support gender equality and children’s wellbeing.
Combating the worst forms of child labour, which includes children in armed conflict, remains high on our agenda. The EU actively supported the UN campaign “Children, Not Soldiers”, which aims to end by 2016 the recruitment and the exploitation of children by government armed forces in conflict.
In order to prevent and respond to violence against children, which remains a harsh reality, we need to ensure that children benefit from enhanced access to justice and that, starting with birth, every child's right to his or her identity is respected.
In promoting children's rights worldwide, the EU will continue to work closely with international organisations, UN bodies; in particular UNICEF, and relevant civil society organisations."