Children's Rights - Eurochild’s achievements in 2022
2022 started with COVID-19 restrictions continuously disrupting children’s lives and was then followed by the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine and by other issues such as spreading populist anti-human rights movements and the rising costs of living. In this period of poly-crisis, Eurochild continued to work with its members as well as national and EU governments to ensure the best interests of the child were promoted and protected.
Thanks to its new and flexible strategic framework, Eurochild could adapt to the new priorities. New thematic areas of work for the network are the protection of children’s rights online and the assistance to families affected by the war. These necessities highlighted how important it is to avoid creating one-sided policies and ensure integrated approaches in EU Member States to tackle exclusion and discrimination.
Our achievements in 2022:
- Eurochild created the Solidarity with Children of Ukraine Hub, which gathered resources for families fleeing Ukraine, professionals and volunteers as well as developed position papers, letters and statements addressed to the UN, EU institutions and national governments.
- Space for Solidarity: twice a month, Eurochild connected its members to exchange information, highlight challenges and identify good practices that can help protect children’s rights during this devastating war.
- We developed and amplified evidence to prioritise children’s rights, in partnership with UNICEF, UNHCR, the EU Education Solidarity Group, and worked with international civil society allies, such as in the Global Subgroup on Ukraine Children’s Care.
- We designed and distributed Heroes Cry Too colouring book for children suffering of traumatic experiences caused by the war, and donated 500 copies of the humanitarian response in Belgium.
Working with the Media
- Over 41 national & European media referred to Eurochild's work & views, presenting a child rights perspective to issues of current affairs.
- Media outlets including Reuters, Euronews and BuzzFeed contacted Eurochild to gather information and our position regarding the situation in Ukraine.
- Anti-rights movements continue to gain support through misinformation campaigns in many parts of Europe. Children’s rights are denounced as being against ‘traditional family values’ and used as a cover to oppose rights and protection for children, women and LGBTQI+ people and block efforts to protect and advance sexual and reproductive rights. Eurochild organised a high-level meeting where our President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca brought together European Commission Vice President Šuica and the Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Mijatović to raise the need of having a European mechanism to protect children’s rights defenders. Eurochild members and children in particular affected by these anti-child rights movements from Bulgaria and Hungary also shared their experiences with the high-level representatives.
- We published the policy paper Countering Anti-Child Rights Movements in Europe - The need for a European mechanism
EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child and Council of Europe
- 2022 was also the first anniversary of the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child and Eurochild asked for its effective implementation.
- Former Eurochild Secretary General, Jana Hainsworth, and Eurochild President, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, attended the launch event of the new 6-year Strategy of the Rights of the Child of the Council of Europe.
- Eurochild organised, together with 5Rights Foundation, a workshop to boost members’ capacity and knowledge on children’s rights in the digital environment. The session looked at how the UNCRC applied in the digital environment and at best practices and the challenges faced in its implementation. A policy update was sent to members shortly after the workshop.
- Eurochild joined 5Rights Foundation and other organisations asking the Council of the EU and Parliament for more protection for children in the Digital Services Act.
- In September, Eurochild submitted its feedback to the European Commission consultation on the proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down rules to prevent and combat child sexual abuse.
- On the occasion of the European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (November 18), Eurochild joined 70+ organisations in a call to ensure the Commission’s proposal brings tangible outcomes for child protection online and wrote an open letter to the European Union.
- In December, Eurochild members were invited to learn more about the Digital Services Act and other relevant digital files affecting children’s rights, led by 5Rights Foundation. This activity was the foundation pillar for the Members Taskforce on children’s rights in the digital environment that started from 2023.
- Eurochild attended with our members the European Day of Persons with Disabilities conference in Brussels in November. Auto Moto Group, Cedar Foundation, and Maud Stiernet created short articles on how they work with children with disabilities. These were shared with other conference attendees.
- Eurochild contributed to the new EU Pathways to School Success initiative to ensure a child-rights lens in this initiative aimed at enhancing well-being in education across EU Member States. Our contribution drew on our learning from the Including Children Affected by Migration project and the First Years, First Priority campaign on early childhood development.