Looking back …

Here we highlight important milestones within the CBSS context in the field of children’s rights and protection.

2009 – The United Nations Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children

A resolution ‘welcoming’ the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children was adopted by UN General Assembly (UNGA) on 20 November 2009, a memorable day when the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child celebrated its 20th anniversary.

The United Nations Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children are intended to enhance the implementation of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child 1989, and other relevant provisions of international and regional human rights law, in matters of protection and well-being of children who are in need of alternative care, or who are at risk of so being. It therefore focuses on two main aspects:

  1. Ensure that children do not find themselves placed in alternative care unnecessarily; and
  2. that, where out-of-home care is provided, it is provided in appropriate conditions and of a type that responds to the child’s rights, needs and best interests.

2006 – Statement following the Ministerial Roundtable Conference on the Social Aspects of Trafficking

The Statement following the Roundtable Conference on the Social Aspects of Trafficking held 31 October 2006. It was the first time where the Ministers for Social Affairs in the Nordic Countries had the opportunity to meet their colleagues from the Baltic Sea Countries to discuss the social impact of trafficking in human beings in the particular context of trafficking-related to prostitution. In the meeting, Ministers benefited from the experiences made by The Council of the Baltic States and The Nordic Dimension Partnership.

2005 – Conclusions from the meeting of ministers responsible for children’s issues within the Baltic Sea Region

Conclusions from the meeting of ministers in Oslo 10th of May

On May 9 – 10 2005, the ministers responsible for children’s issues within the member countries of the Council of the Baltic Sea States met on the invitation of the Minister for Children and Family Affairs in Norway, Ms Laila Dåvöy.

The meeting was organised by the Ministry for Children and Family Affairs in Norway in cooperation with the Children’s Unit at the Secretariat of the Council of the Baltic Sea States. The whole cooperation on children at risk in the region was discussed and the participants listened to presentations related to the prioritised areas:

  • Sexual exploitation of children
  • The rights of children in institutions
  • Unaccompanied and trafficked children

The Council of Europe presented their recent recommendation 2005:05 on the rights of children in institutions and experts gave presentations on alternatives to institutional placements and on improving the quality of care in existing institutions.

The Baltic Sea Regional Study on Adolescent Sexuality presented some preliminary findings.

The programme on Unaccompanied and trafficked children in the region of the Baltic Sea States was presented.

The overall work of the cooperation on children at risk and the use of the IT-tool, the Childcentre was presented.

The meeting agreed on conclusions to guide the work in the future.

2003 – Conference: Stop Child Trafficking – Modern Day Slavery

Pictured: H.E. President Vaira Vike-Freiberga of Latvia, H.E. Prime Minister Anneli Jäätteenmäki of Finland, H.E. U.S. Ambassador to Finland Bonnie McElveen-Hunter. 

On 1-3 June, in Helsinki, the US, Canadian and Swedish Embassies to Finland, the Finnish Government and the Council of the Baltic Sea States gathered some 150 delegates to share and improve practices, programmes and policies aimed at stopping trafficking in children.

The Conference “Stop Child Trafficking – Modern Day Slavery” enjoyed the presence of several dignitaries like H.E. President Tarja Halonen of Finland (presentation), H.E. President Vaira Vike-Freiberga of Latvia, H.E. Prime Minister Anneli Jäätteenmäki of Finland (presentation), H.E. Deputy Prime Minister Winberg of Sweden (presentation), Paula J. Dobriansky, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs (presentation), H.E. Ambassador Ulf Hjertonsson of Sweden, and H.E. Ambassador Adele Dion of Canada. “The Children’s Senator” Chris Smith of the United States gave videotaped remarks. Her Highness, Queen Silvia of Sweden sent her videotaped greeting to the conference.

H.E. Ambassador Bonnie McElveen-Hunter was the driving force behind the conference.

This instructive and forceful conference gave clear political support from the entire Baltic Sea region as well as from the United States and Canada that the fight against trafficking in children is as important and necessary as ever.

                    


More information may be found in an issue of Baltinfo and also on the website of the Foreign Ministry of Finland.

Additional presentations at the conference included:

2003 – Senior Officials Meeting on Unaccompanied Children from the Region of the Baltic Sea States

Outcome document and Meeting report

This meeting including senior officials from Belarus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Russian Federation, Sweden and Ukraine representatives from the European Commission, IOM and from UNHCR have, together with representatives from the NGO sector.

On February 10th to 11th 2003 in Stockholm they discussed the issue of Interministerial and Interagency Co-operation for Improved Assessment, Care and Reintegration of Unaccompanied Children within and from the region.

The report includes chairman’s conclusions in English and Russian, all background documents, address list of participants, welcoming speeches, keynote speeches,  and concluding speech. Many documents in the report are in both English and Russian.

The following commitments have been agreed upon:

  1. The countries in the region all agree on the practice never to send an unaccompanied child back to a country of origin, without having made certain that there is someone there to care for the child.
  2. The representatives present at the meeting have made a commitment to co-operate
    1. bilaterally to solve individual cases of unaccompanied children and
    2. multilaterally in promoting competence building on the issue in the region.
  3. “Plan of Action Regarding Unaccompanied Children from the Region of the participating states” should be elaborated. The meeting have agreed to ask the Working Group for Co-operation on Children at Risk (WGCC) within the Council of the Baltic Sea States to formulate such a plan before the end of 2003. The Plan of Action should outline how to implement the following proposals:
    1. Establishment of national contact points. The national contact point should assume responsibility to co-ordinate national resources in relation to all aspects of assessment and reintegration of children: Identification, Care, Safe Return, and Rehabilitation including medical, social and psychological support. National working groups may also be called for. The contact point would be a natural point of reference for bilateral co-operation regarding individual children The national contact point should co-ordinate with the Children?s Unit at the CBSS. The list of national contact points could be carried on the web site and thus easily be kept updated.
    2.  The action plan would include a section on the tasks and responsibilities for a regional focal point. These would include responsibilities to initiate and monitor activities agreed and organising follow-up meetings or seminars within the three key areas: Assessment, Care and Reintegration. The Children?s Unit within the Council of the Baltic Sea States with proper secondment provides a natural resource to co-ordinate contacts and implement meetings and conferences.
    3. Competence and capacity building in all areas pertaining to the assessment, care and reintegration of Unaccompanied Children should be an important part of the Action Plan. This should include training for law enforcement and migration authorities on how to work with unaccompanied children. The plan should outline how seminars on these issues with practitioners from the countries in the region could be organised. NGOs are well placed to organise some of these seminars with support from governments and the WGCC through the Children?s Unit.
    4. The Plan of Action will take note of the fact that activities in the area must include actors from the NGO sector, the private sector, governmental agencies and governments. All these actors should be specifically encouraged to consider their ability to contribute financially to these activities.
    5. The Plan of Action is a part of the follow up process. In addition to this the Plan of Action should include how the NGO-sector and the governmental sector may continue to co-operate. If in due time found appropriate, this meeting could be followed by another senior officials meeting.

2001 – New Children’s Secretariat strengthens initiatives to combat the sexual exploitation of children in the Baltic Sea Region

ReportPress release – On Wednesday 31 October 2001, representatives from the countries that belong to the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) decided that a Children’s Secretariat will be established to work on a regional basis with issues related to children at risk.

2001 – Report from the Meeting with High Officials on Children at Risk in the Baltic Sea Region

Report from Stockholm 30 – 31 October 2001.