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Brussels, 11 June 2010

European Commission begins public consultation on children’s rights

Although children are less likely to deal with courts or public administrations than adults, their rights are just as important. Children have the right to be protected against poverty and violence, as well as the right to be heard. The European Commission launched a public consultation today on a new EU children's rights strategy. The answers will be used to find out how EU policies can do more to promote children’s rights. The consultation will cover issues like child-friendly justice, violence against children, child poverty and child participation. It is open until 20 August 2010.

"Children often find themselves in difficult situations in today's world – whether as internet users, migrants or as witnesses at a trial. Their rights must be protected and promoted. I look forward to hearing from all interested parties on how best to look after their interests and their rights," said Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship.

Protecting the rights of children in daily life requires a different approach than for adults: whether it is a child participating at a trial, involved in a family dispute, dealing with public administrations, or facing challenging situations like migration, violence or poverty. To know what their rights are and to have them respected, an EU-wide strategy can provide good guidance and useful input. The EU and its Member States want to ensure that children get care and protection and that their voice is heard.

In 2006 the Commission launched a strategy on the rights of the child to make sure EU policies promote children's rights. Today's public consultation aims to improve and find new potential actions for the re-launch of the strategy for the period 2011-2014. As usual, it will draw on the experience of citizens and organisations, associations, bodies, institutions, and experts who deal with the protection and promotion of children's rights from local to international level.

The consultation is looking at specific areas – identified by people working in the field at the Forum for the Rights of the Child – where children might face problems such as:

  • Child-friendly justice and children's participation in the justice system (as witnesses, for example);

  • Justice policies safeguarding children's rights, such as in the framework of family mediation;

  • Protecting vulnerable groups of children (victims of violence, sexual exploitation or trafficking, or children living in poverty);

  • Child participation in the development of policies affecting children.

The Commission will publish a report summarising all the contributions received through this consultation. It will use the results when drafting a new Communication on the Rights of the Child to cover the period 2011-2014.

In parallel with this public consultation, the Commission is conducting a study especially targeted at getting feedback from children themselves (such as through focus groups), which will be published in October.


In July 2006, the need for effective promotion and safeguarding of the rights of the child in the EU's internal and external policies prompted the Commission to adopt a communication setting out children's rights measures across various EU policies (MEMO/06/266).

The EU has a wide range of child-protection policies: from the 116 000 missing child hotline (IP/10/603) to the Safer Internet Programme, which in its latest form aims to empower children to deal with online dangers like bullying and grooming (MEMO/09/58).

For more information

The Public Consultation on the Commission's Communication on the Rights of the Child (2011-2014) is open from 11 June until 20 August and can be found here:"

Justice and Home Affairs Children's Rights page:

Homepage of Viviane Reding, Vice President and Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship:

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