8 September 2005
The implementation of legal and other tools useful for fighting against violence and other forms of child exploitation and abuse
Motion for a recommendation
presented by Mr Gardetto and others
This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only the members who have signed it
Protecting children is essential for their survival, their health, their self-fulfillment and their well-being. Unfortunately, millions of children are victims of daily violence and all forms of exploitation and abuse. Every day, children are bought and sold, imported and exported as if they were consumer goods. Children are forced to become soldiers or servants, to prostitute themselves, they are submitted to sexual abuse or their labour force is exploited in illicit workshops.
Violence and all forms of child exploitation and abuse often come under organized crime and corruption. The consequences only become apparent with the passing of time: unhealthy children, growing poorer, psychologically destabilised, without education and without future.
The study on violence against children requested in 2001 by the General Assembly of the United Nations, an unprecedented initiative, shows that this issue is a top priority in contemporary societies, whatever their development level.
The physical and legal weakness of children in a world where there is an increase in multiple forms of greater violence imperatively calls for a strong and determined stand taken by the International Community.
This new awareness is probably part of a process marked by a more general historical evolution of our thoughts about human rights and by the progressive advent of the child as a possessor of international rights.
At the international level, it led to the United Nations Convention of 1989 on children's rights, with its two additional protocols, and to Convention no 182 of the International Labour Organisation on the worst forms of children's work, which are specific international instruments necessary to fight against different forms of violence against children.
The Council of Europe itself already studied this topic on several occasions. Thus, the protection of children forms the subject of several Recommendations of the Committee of Ministers to the member states since 1979, and of several Recommendations and Resolutions of the Parliamentary Assembly since 1987. Besides, the Council of Europe gave birth to two specific conventions: one on the exercise of children's rights in 1996 and more recently, one about the fight against the traffic in human beings dated 16 May 2005.
However, this framework must be reinforced today by guaranteeing the absence of prescription for the most serious trespasses to children's rights and the possibility of taking action against the authors wherever they are, in particular by extending the legal jurisdiction of the states, giving a more precise penal definition of infringements against children, and reinforcing international co-operation in all those fields. It would be interesting to see this thinking process lead to a new convention of the Council of Europe for the protection of children.
It could also be interesting to propose to states a model law in order to set up protection standards common to all countries, because today's texts and practices remain variable and heterogeneous.
Therefore, continuing such considerations among member states of the Council of Europe, which are, as such, convinced that public freedom and fundamental rights of the person should be preserved, seems a priority.
This is the reason why the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe decides to study the situation of children being victims of violence, of exploitation and abuse of any kind, to propose all legal and other measures which can improve children's protection, to make all the recommendations and to draft all the resolutions which might be of use.
GARDETTO, Jean-Charles, Monaco, EPP/CD
ARZILLI, Giuseppe, San Marino, EPP/CD
ATEŞ, AbdŁlkadir, Turkey, SOC
BARTUMEU CASSANY, Jaume, Andorra, SOC
BĒRZINŠ, Andris, Latvia, ALDE
BRANGER, Jean-Guy, France, EPP/CD
BRESTENSKŃ, BeŠta, Slovakia, ALDE
ELO, Mikko, Finland, SOC
FRI–LEIFSD”TTIR, Siv, Iceland, ALDE
GLESENER, Marcel, Luxembourg, EPP/CD
GOULET, Daniel, France, ALDE
GROSS, Andreas, Switzerland, SOC
HERKEL, Andres, Estonia, EPP/CD
HOLOVATY, Serhiy, Ukraine, ALDE
JAKAVONIS, Gediminas, Lithuania, ALDE
KIRILOV, Evgeni, Bulgaria, SOC
KOSACHEV, Konstantin, Russia, EDG
LEGENDRE, Jacques, France, EPP/CD
MARQUET, Bernard, Monaco, ALDE
PALECKIS, Algirdas, Lithuania, SOC
1 SOC: Socialist Group
EPP/CD: Group of the European People’s Party
ALDE: Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
EDG: European Democratic Group
UEL: Group of the Unified European Left
NR: not registered in a group