Source: UNCRC Policy Center
With the recent undertaking of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union by the Republic of Cyprus, it is crucial, as an independent Cyprus-based institution founded on the values and principles that endorse children’s rights, aiming, in particular, to promote respect and protect this set of rights, to evaluate this event from a human rights-based perspective and particularly, to examine the possibilities available for the EU to improve and further enhance the local, national, European and international status quo regarding children’s rights.
Our organisation HFC “Hope for Children” UNCRC Policy Centre supports initiatives that take into account rights-based approaches to international cooperation, with added emphasis on vulnerable groups such as children and the youth. During the last few years we have witnessed troubling phenomena taking place in various national for a, such as the fall of democracy, the censorship of expression, the collapse of financial systems and the deepening of economic recession, as well as an increasing sense of nationalism and xenophobia spreading across Europe. The wide-ranging effects of these phenomena have accentuated long-standing problems of violence and abuse, which have a disproportionate impact on the youth populations living in or outside the EU, due to the intersection of economic, political and social problems. These impacts have been identified by civil societies, NGOs, States and by multilateral institutions at a local, regional, national, European and international level. The question arising from this is, how can we guarantee a solution that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”, echoing the ever so pertinent Brundtland Commission’s statement from 1987?
We strongly believe that there is potential for advancing children’s rights with sustainable and long-lasting outcomes that will be beneficial for governments as well as the societies in general. However, it is only with the practical willingness of policy-makers and stakeholders that any vision of change can become a reality. The Presidency of the EU by the Republic of Cyprus is a great opportunity to raise some crucial points which may be used as indicators for progress in the area of children’s rights. We urge EU Member States and institutional bodies to recognise significant obstacles to the realisation of children’s rights and to undertake actions aiming to develop a system that respects difference and enhances sustainability, equality, equity, participation and accountability.