I am particularly pleased to welcome you here this afternoon. I feel indeed, gratified that, this awareness – raising and training Workshop, on the use of the Council of Europe’s Human Rights mechanisms, to challenge violations of children’s rights, is taking place.
We will hear this afternoon about the European Court of Human Rights’ contribution to asserting Childrens’ Rights; the European Social Charter’s Collective Complaints Mechanism; and the Committee on the Prevention of Torture procedure.
Before I proceed any further, I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Council of Europe and, particularly, to the Head of the Children’s Rights Policies Division, Ms Regina Jensdottir, for so promptly responding to the request of ENOC’s Working Group on Access to International and National Justice to organize this event. And, certainly, to Ambassador Irma Ertman, Thematic Co-ordinator on Children to the Committee of Ministers, not only for chairing this meeting but also for all her work for the benefit of children.
The idea for this workshop arose during our Working Group’s meeting in Malta, last July; and it is a consequence of the results of the responses of ENOC members to a major survey on our role and mandates. These revealed that, in many of our respective countries, there are serious children’s rights violations, where governments are neither responding to persistent domestic advocacy, nor to repeated recommendations by the Committee on the Rights of the Child. The survey also revealed that, no ENOC institutions – at least until very recently - have used or supported the use of, the Council of Europe’s Human Rights mechanisms.
I want to extent, on behalf of all of us, a big thank you to Peter Newell, Adviser to ENOC, who is really behind all this. Not only the idea was his, but also he offered to discuss and develop the programme with the Council of Europe, on our behalf. And when Peter undertakes a task, he always delivers! Here we are with a well organized half-a-day work-shop.
I have no doubt, it will prove extremely beneficial to all of us. I invite you to engage actively in the discussions, so we can gain from each others’ experience in protecting Childrens’ Rights, in practice.
I like to believe that this will be a start in encouraging more use and more effective use, of these mechanisms, in order to better serve the interests of children’s rights.
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