Hardly any other specific area of human rights shows the vast discrepancy between entitlement and reality as clearly as children’s rights do. Defining rights for young persons below the age of 18 the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) establishes international standards for a number of topics, such as banning violence, protection of child refugees, protection from sexual and economic exploitation as well as child trafficking, child participation, access to health care and education. Compared to other human rights treaties, the highest number of states (193) has contractually pledged themselves to the standards established by the CRC and their implementation, nevertheless does the reality of hundreds of million of children in states of the North and the South not equate to the international standards set in CRC. Child sex tourism, children in detention or reforms of education without adequate children’s participation form no issues of poverty reduction.
These are questions of attitudes in politics and society, which still do not recognize children as holder of human rights.
In cooperation with ECPAT Austria and LexisNexis, the Law Faculty of the University of Vienna and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights elaborated two expert opinions on questions concerning assistance to and identification of victims of child trafficking as well as concerning the criminal responsibility of perpetrators.
The Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE) recently published a report presenting the views and experiences of over 120 children and young people across Europe on violence in custody and presenting their suggestions for change. The Boltzmann Institute has been national partner for Austria in this project.
20 November 2012 marks the 23rd anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child . The convention is characterised by high standards for children, but changing the convention from words on paper to real action is difficult. Most states, including Austria, ratified the convention. Helmut Sax, child rights expert at the BIM talks on the radio program OE1 about the implementation of the convention.
The project described and catalogued best practices in the integration of refugee and asylum-seeking children on educational level and involved conducting program evaluations of select initiatives in three Western European EU Member States and impact assessments for their implementation in two Eastern European countries. In cataloguing best practices, the research conducted by the project team, with the help of external experts, encompassed all 27 EU Member States participating in the European Refugee Fund (where eventually it is also hoped that some of the best practices identified will be implemented), as well as Denmark, Norway, and four Western Balkan states at various stages on their way to EU Membership.
One year ago Austria incorporated children's rights in the constitution. On the occassion of this first anniversary expert on children's rights Helmut Sax was interviewed by OE1 and gave an overview of the current status of implementation of children's rights. Link: http://oe1.orf.at/artikel/295852 (in German only)
On the occasion of the International Day of Children's Rights (20 November 2011) the Network on Children's Rights presents with its 34 members its report on the implementation of children's rights in Austria for the United Nations. The report covers topics such as violence, education, asylum, health and participation.