Director General’s Statement
Celebrating the Universal Children’s Day 2018 and the 29th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
In line with the commitments enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and in celebration of the Universal Children’s Day (resolution 836(IX)), I am honoured to take this occasion to highlight this year’s high-level conference in Stockholm on implementing the prohibition of corporal punishment against children as well as other achievements of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) and its Expert Group on Children at Risk in promoting the rights of the child.
Under the CBSS Latvian Presidency 2018-2019, the promotion of children’s rights is prioritised vis-a-vis the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and under the Presidency’s priority “Responsibility”.
The high-level conference is organised by the Council of the Baltic Sea States and co-hosted by the Swedish Government in cooperation with the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children served as a bridge between the High-Level Global Conferences on the Universal Prohibition of Corporal Punishment in Malta 2018 and in Tunisia 2020.
It was also a milestone for the CBSS and its work with the rights of the child, taking responsibility and creating a better present and future for the children in our region and beyond.
Sweden – the host country for our Secretariat – was the first country in the world to prohibit corporal punishment in all settings in 1979, and thereby introducing a totally new standard. Today, 54 countries have a legal ban, and are implementing it – and many more countries are in the process of enacting a legal prohibition and can look at the Baltic Sea Region as a model region: 10 out of 11 countries have prohibited corporal punishment in all settings including in the home. Nearly all the countries in the Baltic Sea Region have furthermore taken part in the CBSS led Non-violent Childhoods Programme aiming at strengthening the awareness and efforts.
The CBSS Expert Group on Children at Risk is leading many key initiatives – grounded on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – which aim at preventing and protecting children against abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence.
The cooperation between the CBSS and the Nordic Council of Ministers resulted in the adoption of the Oslo Conclusions on Identifying Children at Risk of Exploitation and Trafficking which promote a reorientation of action, where addressing violence and exploitation of children in all its forms becomes a first step to prevent and identify child victims of trafficking.
Also, launched in 2017, the European Barnahus Movement confirmed Barnahus as a good practice, validated the Barnahus model as a widely accepted concept and consolidated the European network of Barnahus staff and interested government officials and practitioners. Now in its second phase, the CBSS led PROMISE project is promoting progress at national level in several European countries to provide child victims and witnesses of violence in Europe with child-friendly interventions and rapid access to justice and care.
To conclude, we are in a positive flow at the moment, but many challenges remain – not only in our region. This said, the staff at the Secretariat, the senior officials of the CBSS Expert Group on Children at Risk, and the many partners and participants will continue to develop and promote national measures aimed at ensuring the children’s rights to grow up without violence, with dignity and kindness.