Strasbourg, 12 July 2011 COUNCIL OF EUROPE STRATEGY ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD (2012-2015) FIRST DRAFT Executive summary The Council of Europe transversal Programme “Building a Europe for and with children”, launched in 2006 subsequently to the Warsaw Summit, has now completed two policy cycles. The Strategy on the Rights of the Child (2012-2015) proposes a vision for the Council of Europe’s role and action in the field of the rights of the child, taking into account the progress achieved, the remaining challenges, and the gaps and needs previously identified. The Strategy is a result of extensive consultations conducted e.g. with governments, parliamentarians, key international organisations and civil society representatives. The Programme’s overall goal in 2012-2015 will be to provide guidance, advice and technical assistance to member states in the implementation of existing Council of Europe standards, with a focus on developing holistic children’s rights strategies and promoting tools to address existing and emerging challenges in this field through the Council of Europe’s Platform on the Rights of the Child, bringing together all the stakeholders. The Programme will pursue five strategic objectives: 1. Support the member states in implementing standards, particularly through greater mainstreaming of children’s rights into the Council of Europe monitoring bodies; 2. promote child-friendly services and systems, with a focus on child-friendly health-care, child-friendly social services, child-friendly justice and family law and policies; 3. combat all forms of violence against children by promoting integrated national strategies against violence, raising awareness and taking action to counter sexual violence, corporal punishment, domestic violence, violence in schools and in cyberspace; 4. safeguard the rights of vulnerable children, such as children in alternative care, in detention, migrant, asylum seeking, refugee and internally displaced children and children with disabilities; and 5. promote child participation at local, national and international level, including through education in democratic citizenship and human rights education. 2 The Programme will continue to mobilize and co-ordinate the contribution of all Council of Europe bodies and institutions, mainstreaming children’s rights in all Council of Europe policy areas and activities. In fulfilling its goals, the Programme will co-ordinate and consolidate partnerships with other international organisations and other institutions, professional networks , civil society and the private sector. I. BACKGROUND Children’s rights agenda in the Council of Europe: assessing progress and identifying needs At their Third Summit in 2005, the Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe renewed their commitment to children’s rights and asked the Council of Europe: to mainstream children’s rights in all Council of Europe policies and co- ordinate all Council of Europe activities related to children; to eradicate all forms of violence against children. Launched in Monaco in April 2006, the Programme “Building a Europe for and with children” is the Council of Europe's response to this mandate. The Programme has now completed two policy cycles. The first policy cycle (2006-2009) concentrated on the development of new working methods and on the mobilisation of all Council of Europe actors, networks and partners in the development and implementation of a children’s rights agenda for Europe. It increased the visibility and the impact of Council of Europe standards, identifying needs and filling gaps through the developament of new standards (for instance, to fight sexual violence, to empower children in the media environment, to support positive parenting, to protect the rights of children living in care and on the integration of migrant children). A campaign against corporal punishment was launched to address the most widespread form of violence against children. The 28th Conference of Ministers of Justice which took place in Lanzarote, Spain in 2008 also paved the way for child friendly justice and subsequently inspired similar work in the area of child friendly social services and health services. The contents of the second policy cycle (2009-2011) were discussed at a high level meeting held in Stockholm in September 2008. The Stockholm Strategy was adopted by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers in November 2008 under the heading “Protection, provision and participation for children in Europe”. It created the Council of Europe Platform on children’s rights and identified three main themes: the elimination of all forms of violence, the promotion of child-friendly justice and the promotion of child participation. This strategy also called for action to protect particularly vulnerable children and the inclusion of a child-rights perspective in the areas of democracy, media, family and education. Results achieved include the revision of the convention on adoption, a recommendation on integrated national strategies on violence against 3 children, guidelines on child-friendly justice, the launching of a campaign to stop sexual violence against children, a number of policy reviews on child participation, the production of child-friendly material, and the creation of expert groups on child-friendly health care and child-friendly social services. The 9th Council of Europe Conference of Health Ministers on “Child-friendly health care: building a healthy future for and with children” (Lisbon, 29-30 September 2011) was devoted to the promotion of children’s rights within the member states’ health care systems. Although much progress has been achieved, millions of children in Europe still fall short of protection: children continue to be victims of abuse, exploitation, neglect, exclusion and discrimination. The provision of services to children and their families does not match their needs and it does not take into account children’s rights and opinions. Certain categories of children have no access to education, health care, justice, social protection and to a caring environment. The participatory rights of children are generally overlooked: children have no access to information and their views are rarely sought or taken into account. Economic, social and technological developments result in new challenges that children, their families and the professionals working with them are not equipped to address. Although many countries deploy important efforts to protect children, action undertaken by national and local authorities is seldom based on evidence and generally lacks coherence, efficiency and sustainability. A number of key findings emerge from the analysis of the situation: First: the need to move from isolated actions towards the development and implementation of holistic strategies involving all stakeholders; Second: the need to fill the gap between standards and implementation; Third: the importance of continuing to include a child-rights perspective in all Council of Europe policies, maintaining and developing spaces for exchange of information, good practices and debates on current and emerging issues; and Fourth: the importance of improving access to standards, monitoring reports, guidelines, campaign materials and other tools available. In the light of these findings, proposals have been made in the draft strategy (2012-2015) for the next policy cycle of the Programme “Building a Europe for and with Children”, presented hereafter. Towards a new Strategy: the elaboration process On 19 March 2011, the Committee of Ministers took note of the Progress Report on the Strategy 2009-2011, as contained in documents CM(2011)35 and CM(2011)35add, of the initial objectives proposed for the Strategy 2012-2015 and of the proposed procedure for its elaboration. It invited the Secretariat to consult timely with the Network of National Focal Points on Children’s Rights as well as other key stakeholders. The Strategy presented below is a result of extensive consultations conducted at different levels: 4 within the Council Europe Inter-Secretariat Task Force on the Rights of the Child, bringing together all relevant sectors, bodies and structures (June-July 2011); within the Network of government-appointed Focal Points on the Rights of the Child (July – September 2011); with the Parliamentary Assembly through its Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee (during the October 2011 part-session of the Assembly); with key partners, such as UNICEF, OHCHR, EU, as well as key international NGOs (September – October 2011); and through bilateral and multilateral consultations held in the margins of the High- level conference on the Council of Europe Strategy on the Rights of the Child 2012-2015 in Monaco (20-21 November 2011). The Strategy furthermore takes note of children’s views and perceptions of threats to the rights of the child, as drawn up from direct consultations with children organised by the Council of Europe, other international organisations, the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children, national and international NGOs. The draft Strategy will be submitted to the Committee of Ministers for adoption on __ January 2012. II. BUILDING A EUROPE FOR AND WITH CHILDREN 20012-2015: TURNING THE VISION INTO REALITY The Programme’s overall goal The Programme’s overall goal in 2012-2015 will be two-fold: to provide guidance, advice and technical assistance to the member states in the implementation of international standards on the rights of the child, primarily the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (hereinafter, the UNCRC) and the rich body of the Council of Europe legal instruments,; and bearing in mind the inter-dependence and indivisibility of the rights of the child, to support the member states in devising and implementing holistic children’s rights strategies and policies and to introduce a child-rights perspective in all Council of Europe activities. The Programme’s strategic objectives for 2012-2015 The strategic objectives build on the achievements of the Programme’s previous cycle 1 and the needs identified by governments, the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on violence against children, Council of 1 Strategic objectives of the previous cycle were: mainstreaming and co-ordination, promotion of children’s access to justice, eradication of all forms of violence against children, participation of children and their influence in society, and special focus on particularly vulnerable children. 5 Europe monitoring bodies and other Council of Europe partners. The child-rights dimension of four other Council of Europe programmes on Information Society, on Roma and Travellers, Equality and Diversity and on Migration is also duly integrated. STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE ONE: IDENTIFYING OBSTACLES, ASSESSING NEEDS AND SUPPORTING IMPLEMENTATION OF STANDARDS It is generally agreed that the existing body of standards constitutes an excellent basis for the effective protection and promotion of children’s rights. However, the lack of comprehensive data and thorough analysis of the situation in member states makes it difficult to address the problems often linked to failures in the implementation of laws and policies. It is therefore important to develop the Council of Europe capacity to identify shortcomings and good practices with a view to provide general guidance and tailor- made support to implementation. The role of Council of Europe monitoring bodies Given the number of Council of Europe treaties with implications for the rights of the child, as well as child-specific legal instruments, priority attention will be given to the implementation of existing Council of Europe standards through a more proactive mainstreaming of the rights of the child into the Council of Europe monitoring mechanisms. In addition to the European Court of Human Rights and the European Committee on Social Rights, these mechanisms include the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the Committee of Experts of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, as well as a range of other conventional committees2. Monitoring activities are also being pursued by the Committee of Ministers, the Parliamentary Assembly and the Commissioner for Human Rights. All these instances will be encouraged to focus on the rights of the child in their work. The greater mainstreaming of children’s rights in the monitoring bodies will result in: the development of a comprehensive grasp by the member states of all Council of Europe standards with implications for the rights of the child and their more homogeneous interpretation and implementation; a more consistent implementation of the Council of Europe standards at the national level; a more efficient use of monitoring reports for the purpose of developing future Council of Europe activities in the children’s rights field; 2 For instance, the Convention Committee on the European Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Decisions Concerning Custody of Children and on the Restoration of Custody of Children and the Standing committee on the European Convention on the Exercise of Children’s Rights. 6 the development of tailor-made co-operation packs for the member states focusing on the implementation of measures deriving from the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, as well as recommendations and conclusions of other monitoring bodies; and an improved access of children to international justice, including through children’s input and direct contribution to the monitoring mechanisms’ work3, the development of child participation activities, child-friendly versions of the standards as well as through training of professionals working with children and civil society representatives. The Council of Europe will also increase its support for national institutions and organisations responsible for monitoring compliance with the rights of the child at national level. These include national human rights institutions, including most notably ombudspersons for children, as well as a broad range of non-governmental organisations active in the children’s rights field. Co-operation and information exchange between member states’ human rights institutions on the rights of the child will be further reinforced. From needs assessment to support in implementation The Council of Europe will develop its capacity to support the implementation of standards through: general guidance on emerging issues; improved access to standards, results of monitoring work, expert reports, collections of good practices, guidelines and awareness raising and training tools; targeted assistance in the development of legislation, policies and capacity building schemes; active involvement and contribution of the Parliamentary Assembly, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities and the Commissioner for Human Rights; co-operation with international partners, notably UNICEF and EU, in the promotion of standards at national and regional level. STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE TWO: PROMOTING CHILD-FRIENDLY SERVICES AND SYSTEMS Child-friendly health care The child-friendly health care approach places children’s rights, needs, opinions and resources at the centre of healthcare activities, aiming at increasing the value of health care policies and services. It constitutes an integrated framework for specific programmes and initiatives, focused on the full respect of children’s rights, on their health needs and on their resources for health and development. The Council of Europe will continue to 3 Following a pilot project with one monitoring body, a road map will be developed to mainstream child participation into as many Council of Europe monitoring bodies as possible. 7 identify children’s specific needs in order to promote their well-being in the health care setting, with special emphasis on their right to child-responsive and child-friendly health care, while taking into account the social and family environment. To that end, it will: promote child-friendly health care policies, which aim at delivering child-oriented services based on child-specific developmental needs and evolving capacities and ensuring children’s participation at every level of decision-making and take other action, as instructed by the 9th Council of Europe Conference of Health Ministers; disseminate the Guidelines on child-friendly health care4 widely among competent authorities, service providers and health care professionals in the member states, including through the elaboration of tools, written materials and a web page; support exchange of knowledge and good practices among the member states on child-friendly health care policies; support information campaigns in the member states on the child-friendly health care approach, focusing e.g. on children’s rights and needs, the identification of problems through health professionals, the role of health care services and the importance of participation in health care, including campaign activities undertaken in the framework of the Council of Europe ONE in FIVE Campaign to stop sexual violence against children (see under objective 3). Child-friendly social services Child-friendly social services refer to the delivery of an inclusive range of services meeting general and personal social needs of the child and his/her family, whilst ensuring respect for and protection of the rights of the child. Recognising the need to adapt member states’ social service systems for children and families to the specific rights, interests and needs of children, the Council of Europe will: promote child-friendly social services in the member states, which take into account the child’s age, level of maturity and understanding and an assessment of the child’s needs, i.e. that respect the unique circumstances of each case; support the necessary reforms in the member states on the basis of the Committee of Ministers’ Recommendation CM/Rec(2011)__ on child-friendly social services5 and ensure the necessary follow-up; encourage co-operation in the field of child-friendly social services, including research and sharing of good practices; foster dialogue between service providers and the public on the outcome of and satisfaction with the child friendliness of social services. Child-friendly justice Child-friendly justice denotes a justice system which guarantees respect for and effective implementation of all children’s rights at the highest attainable level, bearing in mind the 4 The Guidelines are expected to be adopted by the Committee of Ministers in September 2011. 5 This Recommendation is expected to be adopted by the Committee of Ministers before the end of 2011. 8 principles enshrined in the UNCRC and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and giving due consideration to the child’s level of maturity and understanding and the circumstances of the case. More specifically, justice can be considered child- friendly when it is accessible, age appropriate, speedy, diligent, adapted to and focused on the needs and rights of the child, respecting the rights of the child, including the rights to due process, to participate in and to understand the proceedings, to respect for private and family life and to integrity and dignity. The Council of Europe will: encourage member states to review domestic legislation, policies and practices to ensure the necessary follow-up to the Council of Europe Guidelines on child- friendly justice6; disseminate widely and share the child-friendly justice concepts with partners working in this field at national, European and international level, particularly with UNICEF and EU; invest in the training of professionals, including judges, prosecutors, police and border control staff, legal professionals and court workers, on the principles and practices of child-friendly justice; enhance children’s understanding of the functioning of the justice system at national and international levels; improve children’s access to justice at international level, in particular to the Council of Europe monitoring mechanisms, through the organisation of training courses for the ombudspersons for children and legal professionals; acknowledge the views and opinions of children throughout the Council of Europe member states on the text of the Guidelines on child-friendly justice; ensure children’s participatory rights in proceedings affecting their nationality, in accordance with the Committee of Ministers’ Recommendation CM/Rec(2009)13 on the nationality of children; maintain and further develop the Theseus database containing the case law of the European Court of Human Rights relevant to children (1968-2011). Family law and policies Families, whatever their form, are the most important point of reference in children’s lives. Based on the wealth of legal standards in this area, the Council of Europe will continue to promote the necessary social, legal and economic protection to the family, as a fundamental unit of society and a natural environment for the growth, well-being and the full development of the child. The Council of Europe will in particular: promote the implementation of legal principles concerning the legal status of children and parental responsibilities on the basis of Committee of Ministers’ Recommendation CM/Rec(2011)__ on the legal status of children and parental responsibilities7; 6 Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 17 November 2010 at the 1098 th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies. 7 This Recommendation is expected to be adopted by the Committee of Ministers before the end of 2011. 9 provide guidance to the member states in developing and improving policies and practices to support positive parenting, i.e. upbringing of children in an environment that is respectful of the rights of the child and free from violence8. STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE THREE: ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN Despite positive steps taken to eradicate specific forms of violence, such as corporal punishment or sexual exploitation, it is still estimated that a large proportion of Europe’s children continues to suffer from violence in all spheres of life: the home, the school, residential institutions as well as the community. Traditionally, violence prevention efforts focused on particular issues or specific groups of vulnerable children, i.e. trafficked children, sexually exploited children, children in institutions, etc. While vertical, issue-focused projects can be effective in serving the specific cohort of children targeted, they often lead to prevention and protection gaps for other categories of children who may also be vulnerable to violence. Protection from all forms of violence The Council of Europe will continue to act as a regional initiator and co-ordinator of national and regional initiatives to eliminate all forms of violence against children and as the European forum for follow-up to the recommendations included in the UN Secretary- General’s Report on Violence against children. To that end, it will adopt a two-prong approach to combating violence: 1) it will support the adoption and implementation by the member states of integrated national strategies to protect children from violence, entailing legislative, policy and institutional reforms and focusing on prevention9; and 2) it will promote zero tolerance for all forms of violence by raising awareness and taking action to address specific types of violence or settings where violence against children takes place. Sexual violence Available data suggest that about one in five children in Europe are victims of some form of sexual violence. Child sexual violence can take many forms: sexual abuse through physical contact, sexual exploitation, child pornography, corruption, grooming and sexual assault by peers. To address this issue, the Council of Europe will pursue its ONE in FIVE Campaign to stop sexual violence against children10 with a dual goal: (i) to promote the signature, ratification and implementation of the Council of Europe 8 In line with the Committee of Ministers’ Recommendation Rec(2006)19 on policy to support positive parenting. 9 In line with the Committee of Ministers’ Recommendation CM/Rec(2009)10 on integrated national strategies for the protection of children from violence. 10 The Campaign was launched in Rome, Italy, on 29 November 2010. 10 Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (hereinafter, the Lanzarote Convention); and (ii) to raise awareness on the extent of sexual violence and to provide children, parents and professionals with knowledge and tools to prevent and to respond to it. A range of subsidiary objectives will be achieved within the campaign’s frame, including: the widest possible number of the member states will join the ONE in FIVE Campaign; the Lanzarote Convention will be promoted and the materials and tools will be developed to assist states in the ratification of the treaty and the implementation of a number of its key provisions; assistance will be provided to the monitoring mechanism of the Lanzarote Convention with the aim of ensuring the treaty’s effective implementation at national level; the preparation of a compendium of good practices on the role of professionals in preventing, detecting and reporting violence against children, with a focus on sexual violence, will be developed and widely disseminated throughout the member states; tailored advice and assistance will be provided to the member states on how to set up child-friendly mechanisms for the reporting and referral of sexual violence; good practices on the child-sensitive interviewing of child victims of sexual violence (e.g. children’s houses) will be collected and made available to the relevant practitioners; a set of guidelines on the ethical reporting of sexual violence by the media will be developed and promoted; a child participative network will be developed to prevent sexual violence against children; a broad spectrum of professionals in contact with children will raise their awareness on the risks of sexual violence and on ways to prevent and report it; the Campaign will serve as a communication vector for the promotion of the Programme’s other strategic objectives, such as child-friendly justice and child- friendly health care. The Campaign will continue to be carried out in close co-operation with the Parliamentary Assembly, in particular through its active network of almost 40 contact parliamentarians and specific awareness raising actions targetting national parliaments. The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities will also join the Campaign and contribute to the achievement of its objectives. Corporal punishment and domestic violence The Council of Europe will continue to support the legislative ban on corporal punishment of children in all settings, including within the family/home. As a corollary to the prohibition of corporal punishment, it will promote positive parenting and will bring children’s rights to the families, enabling parents, carers, elder siblings and other family members to play an important role in informing children about their rights and practicing those rights in everyday life. 11 Signature and ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence will be promoted. The Convention protects women and girls from violence and encourages States to extend the Convention protection to other victims of domestic violence (such as boys). It also contains specific provisions to protect all children witnesses of domestic violence. Violence in schools The Council of Europe will support member states’ policies, teaching programmes and activities aimed at preventing and reducing violence in schools and provide follow up to the High-level expert meeting “Tackling violence in schools” (Oslo, 27-28 June 2011). Particular emphasis will be put on: supporting member states’ training needs in the area of education for the prevention of violence in schools through establishing a network of trainers under the Council of Europe “Pestalozzi programme”; and raising awareness on the different forms of violence in schools and the ways to report and combat them within the school and other educational establishments’ settings. In achieving the aforementioned objectives, the Council of Europe will continue to partner and support the mandate of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Violence against Children. Protecting the dignity, security, privacy and well-being of children in the new media To secure children’s rights to dignity, to special protection and care as is necessary for their well being, to protection against all forms of discrimination or arbitrary or unlawful interference with their privacy and unlawful attacks on their honour and reputation, the Council of Europe will: promote signature, ratification and implementation of the Council of Europe Convention(s) on Cybercrime (and on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse), with a focus on countering child abuse images; promote and modernise the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to the processing of personal data to ensure better protection of children’s privacy resulting from the use of information and communication technologies; strengthen Internet service providers’ obligation to report child abuse images to law enforcement authorities; raise awareness of Internet service providers, social networks and the media in their practical understanding of and compliance with the rights of the child; assess the challenges resulting from the use of wireless devices by children (access to Internet via mobile phones, etc.) and develop appropriate responses; combat the sexualisation and victimisation of children by the media; enhance children’s psychological resilience to risks encountered through the new media; and 12 address other challenges to the well-being of children resulting from the use of information and communication technologies (such as mental health issues, etc.). STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE FOUR: GUARANTEEING THE RIGHTS OF VULNERABLE CHILDREN Children in alternative care Despite deinstitutionalisation efforts in many of the Council of Europe member states, too many children in Europe continue to live in big residential institutions, where they may be unable to fully exercise their rights. Also children living in other forms of alternative care (including foster care) are more vulnerable to violations of their human rights. Bearing in mind the principles of the UNCRC and of the Committee of Ministers Recommendation Rec(2005)5 on the rights of children living in residential institutions, according to which the placement of children should be avoided wherever feasible by means of preventive measures, the Council of Europe will provide guidance to the member states on: ways to prevent the placement of children outside their family, notably through the implementation of the Recommendation on child-friendly social services; improving the situation of children in alternative care. A particular focus will be put on the monitoring of institutions through independent mechanisms, children’s participation and on the prevention of violence, including sexual violence; empowering children in alternative care to exercise their rights through dissemination of child-friendly information on the rights of children and young people in care; and building partnerships with governments, professional networks and NGOs to train the professionals on this matter. Children in detention The trend for an increasing criminalisation of the most socially vulnerable children continues to grow across Europe. The insufficiency of data regarding numbers, age, groups, family background and treatment of children in detention and pre-trial detention and the raising signals of violence they are subjected to while in detention need to be examined and properly addressed. As a follow up to the 30th Conference of Ministers of Justice (Istanbul, November 2010), the European Committee on Crime Problems, in co-operation with other relevant Council of Europe structures will: evaluate the implementation by the member states of the Committee of Ministers’ Recommendation CM/Rec(2008)11 on the European Rules for juvenile offenders 13 subject to sanctions and measures and of other relevant Council of Europe standards11; reinforce Council of Europe’s monitoring activities with a view to strengthening the protection of human rights of children deprived of their liberty, in particular against all forms of violence; involve judges, prosecutors, prison and probation services and representatives of national preventive mechanisms in a joint discussion concerning imprisonment of juvenile offenders and community sanctions and measures applicable to them with two objectives: (i) to avoid the detention and pre-trial detention of juvenile offenders, and (ii) to improve social re-integration of juvenile offenders into family and society, whilst ensuring public safety; consider the necessity of addressing the needs of children of imprisoned parents. Migrant, asylum seeking, refugee and internally displaced children The Council of Europe will continue to promote and protect the rights of migrant, asylum seeking, refugee and internally displaced children, namely by: undertaking activities, in co-operation with the relevant authorities of the member states, with a view to promoting the implementation of the Committee of Ministers’ Recommendation CM/Rec(2008)4 on strengthening the integration of children of migrants and of immigrant background; ensuring the necessary follow up to the Committee of Ministers’ Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)9 on life projects for unaccompanied migrant minors, with a focus on the elaboration and implementation by the member states of national policies regarding unaccompanied migrant minors, training of front-line professionals and raising awareness of relevant national services; disseminating widely in the member states the Guidelines concerning the languages of schooling for children from a migrant background and offering assistance in the practical application of the Guidelines; supporting the member states in ensuring the integration of migrant children through promoting participation of their parents; monitoring compliance of national asylum policies and practices with the rights of the child and, on the request of member states, offering assistance in ensuring appropriate follow-up to the relevant judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and of the other monitoring mechanisms’ recommendations; addressing the issue of detention of children in the centres for irregular migrants and ensuring their access to health care, education and leisure12. Children with disabilities 11 Such as the European Prison Rules (Rec(2006)2) and the Council of Europe Probation Rules (CM/Rec(2010)1), and the Council of Europe Guidelines on Child-Friendly Justice, 9th General Report on the CPT’s activities (1998) on juveniles deprived of their liberty. 12 In line with the “Twenty Guidelines on forced return” adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 4 May 2005 at the 925th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies. 14 Children with disabilities still face considerable barriers in accessing all aspects of their life: education, health care, social services, sports, culture, entertainment, and community life. The needs of children with disabilities and their families must be carefully assessed with a view to developing measures which enable children to fully exercise their rights, grow up in a family environment and be fully integrated within the community life and activities. In accordance with the Council of Europe Action Plan to promote the rights and full participation of people with disabilities in society (2006-2015)13 and its mid-term review conference (Istanbul, December 2010), the Council of Europe will: examine in depth the situation of children with disabilities in the member states; provide expertise and policy guidelines to the member states with a view to protecting and promoting human rights of the specifically vulnerable groups of children with disabilities (i.e. those with severe impairments who are likely to be living in institutional settings or at home where they might suffer from isolation and restrictions of their rights); collect good practices and consider the feasibility of developing additional standards on the protection of the particularly vulnerable groups of children with disabilities; promote positive attitudes to young girls with disabilities and combat multiple discrimination on the ground of gender and disability. STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE FIVE: PROMOTING CHILD PARTICIPATION Children have the right to be heard and taken seriously in all matters affecting them, be it in their family or alternative care environment, in day-care and in schools, in local communities and national politics, in health care, justice, social services, and, last but not least, in policy-making at European and international levels. Some children need more support to access this right than others, notably children in alternative care or in detention, children of migrant background, Roma children and children at risk of social exclusion. The Council of Europe will continue working for this right to become a reality for all children, irrespective of the circumstances in which they live. To that end, it will: finalise the elaboration of a Committee of Ministers’ recommendation on the participation of children and young people under the age of 18 and promote it among policy makers, professionals, parents and children; and develop a tool allowing the member states to assess their level of implementation of the child’s right to be heard and taken seriously. 13 Recommendation Rec(2006)5 of the Committee of Minister on the Council of Europe Action Plan to promote the rights and full participation of people with disabilities in society (2006-2015): improving the quality of life of people with disabilities in Europe 2006-2015. 15 The Council of Europe will also continue to involve children in its own activities, including the development of legal standards and will particularly strengthen children’s participation in the monitoring mechanisms. Producing and disseminating information on the rights of the child in a child-friendly manner, both in print and online, will remain a priority. Empowering children through formal and non-formal learning: democratic citizenship and human rights education Preparing children for responsible citizenship entails not only equipping them with knowledge and understanding of human rights, including the rights of the child, but also empowering them to take action in society in the defence and promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Such an empowerment requires an in-depth change in educational policy and practice, based on the concerted actions of many stakeholders, including decision makers, education professionals, civil society and youth organisations. The Council of Europe Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education14 promotes this shift by focusing on the rights and responsibilities and active participation in relation to the civic, political, social, economic, legal and cultural spheres of society in a broad spectrum of educational settings, including formal general education, vocational education, higher education and non-formal education. The Charter also encourages the active participation by learners, educational staff and stakeholders, including parents, in the governance of education institutions both as a beneficial method of governance in its own right and as a practical means of learning and experiencing democracy. It also shapes attitudes, skills and knowledge in and through member states’ education systems so that due respect for human rights, including the rights of the child, becomes a reality. The Council of Europe will promote this approach by: supporting the member states in their implementation of the Charter through actions, such as reporting, conferences and pilot initiatives; making information on the Charter and its implementation available to the member states, experts in the fields of the rights of the child and education, professionals in different educational establishments, and children and families; providing guidance to the member states on participation of children as a way of implementing the Charter, including through preparation of child-friendly material, compendia of good practices and the development of an easily accessible website; collecting, analysing and acting upon children’s feedback as an integral part of implementing the Charter; 14 Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)7 of the Committee of Ministers on the Council of Europe Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education. 16 fostering multilateral and transfrontier activities, including the existing network of co-ordinators on education for democratic citizenship and human rights education; developing training programmes for education professionals on human rights, (including children’s rights), on democratic citizenship, as well as on teaching and learning practices and activities that follow and promote democratic and human rights values and principles; supporting European networks of non-governmental organisations, youth organisations and education professionals and co-operation among them. Empowering children in the new media Internet and other new media have become an indispensable tool for children’s everyday activities, such as communication, information, knowledge, education and entertainment. Children are not only mere users of the new information and communication technologies but also actors of change, shaping and adjusting those technologies to reflect their own demands and interests. While children may be at ease with handling the new technologies, their discerning capacity and ability to make value-based judgements may put them at risk and compromise their safety and general well being. To empower children in the new media environment, the Council of Europe will: support the elaboration of training programmes on responsible digital citizenship, and media literacy; seek to raise children’s awareness on their rights and means to exercise them, proposing new tools to better manage privacy and personal data on the online environment (e.g. when using social networks, blogs, etc.) while fully enjoying their freedom of expression; continue to strengthen children’s Internet safety skills, including on the basis of the Council of Europe Internet Literacy Handbook, “Through the Wild Web Woods” online game for children and the accompanying Teachers’ Guide; promote participative democracy initiatives including children. III. WORKING METHODS The Programme’s working methods will be guided by the following key principles: - mainstreaming, transversality, co-ordination, co-operation; - the holistic approach to the rights of the child; - enhanced communication with all stakeholders and the media; - direct communication with children and families in the language they understand. The strategic planning, implementation and evaluation of the Programme will continue to be entrusted to the Platform on the Rights of the Child, bringing together: the Co-ordination Unit of the Programme within the Secretariat; 17 the Council of Europe Inter-Secretariat Task Force on the Rights of the Child; the Thematic Co-ordinator of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers; the Council of Europe Network of Focal Points on the Rights of the Child; representatives of the Council of Europe bodies, such as Steering and Expert Committees, the Parliamentary Assembly, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, the Commissioner for Human Rights; as well as international organisations, civil society, ombudspersons, research institutions, international experts, and children and families. A Consultative Group of five independent experts will be established in order to: advice the Children’s Rights Platform and the Council of Europe bodies and institutions upon request; analyse trends and data and propose action to address existing and emerging challenges; advice in the development of tailor-made cooperation projects with individual states; contribute to the analysis of national policies and legislation at the request of volunteer countries; assist in the collection of best practices and other data, the development of training and awareness raising tools. To facilitate mainstreaming and co-ordination, the Programme will: continue to promote the rights of the child in all Council of Europe policy areas and co-ordinate all child-related activities; further reinforce its online resource (www.coe.int/children) as the main entry point for all information concerning the organisation’s standards, policies, decisions of monitoring bodies, materials and measures relevant to the rights of the child; step up its co-operation with the member states through reinforced partnership with the Network of Focal Points on the Rights of the Child and NGO networks; co-ordinate the child-rights dimension of three other Council of Europe transversal programmes; engage the Council of Europe field offices, as well as its North-South Centre, in the promotion of the Programme’s strategic objectives and fund raising in support of children’s rights projects; consider organising a high-level conference in 2015, to review progress and decide on the Programme’s orientations beyond 2015. IV. PARTNERS 18 Since 2006, the Programme has built important partnerships with other international organisations, as well as with non-governmental organisations. It has proved highly effective in bringing the Council of Europe standards and work closer to policy makers in other forums, as well as to the Programme’s ultimate beneficiaries, children. The Council of Europe will continue to co-ordinate and consolidate partnerships with key international stakeholders at regional and global level, namely: the European Union, including the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, European Parliament, the Fundamental Rights Agency, Eurojust, European Judicial Network, Europol and intergovernmental bodies, such as l’Europe de l’Enfance and ChildONEurope, the European Economic and Social Committee; the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF and other UN Agencies, such as OHCHR, WHO, UNESCO, as well as Special Representatives and Rapporteurs focusing on children’s rights issues; the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children (ENOC); competent national authorities; inter-governmental networks on issues specific for the rights of the child; networks of parliamentarians and local and regional authorities, including notably the European Network of Cities for Children; national and international NGO networks; professional networks (in the field of education, justice, social services, health and youth); schools, sports clubs, other training and leisure clubs; parents, children and youth associations; the media (printed, online, etc.); the private sector (in particular in the areas of entertainment, food, travel, health and leisure). Co-operation with the European Union The Council of Europe will continue to rely on the European Union as a major partner in achieving the Strategy’s objectives and in building a pan-European space fit for children. Particular attention will be paid to the accession by the EU to the European Convention on Human Rights as well as to key Council of Europe conventions in the children’s rights field. Co-ordination with the European Commission and its Co-ordinator on Children’s Rights will be reinforced. Co-operation with UNICEF The Council of Europe will step up its co-operation with UNICEF and particularly its Regional Office for CEE/CIS. The potential of common actions as foreseen by the 2007 Joint Declaration on the reinforcement of co-operation between the Council of Europe and UNICEF will be further explored. Co-operation with non-governmental organisations 19 The Council of Europe will intensify its relations with the non-governmental sector, which is one of the key partners in encouraging the process toward ratification, accompanying implementation and monitoring compliance with the Council of Europe standards in the member states. V. LIST OF ACTIVITIES The list of concrete projects and activities to be implemented under the Strategy appears will be appended at a later stage. VI. BUDGET The Strategy will have a duration of four years covering two budgetary cycles (2012-2013 and 2014-2015). The Strategy’s budget will be composed of the Council of Europe’s ordinary budget and member states’ voluntary contributions, including secondments. The ordinary budget will include the budget of the Programme’s Co-ordination Unit, as well as resources from Council of Europe sectors and services implementing specific projects and activities on the rights of the child. VII. EVALUATION Implementation of the Strategy will be subject to internal and external evaluation. At the end of 2013, the Committee of Ministers’ Thematic Co-ordinator on Children will effectuate a mid-term review to assess the efficiency, effectiveness, impact, sustainability and relevance of actions in the context of the objectives stated. A progress report on the implementation of the Strategy in its entirety will be presented to the Committee of Ministers by mid 2015.