Delegation of the European Union to Eswatini

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Joint statement by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Virginia Gamba on the occasion of the International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers

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Every girl and woman has the right to live a life free of violence and pain. And yet, more than 200 million women and girls across the world have been forced to undergo the painful and traumatic practice of Female Genital Mutilation, including 500,000 living in Europe. Millions more girls are at risk of being cut: 68 million girls in 25 countries by 2030.

On this day, 70 years ago, the Member States of the United Nations came together to adopt the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This step brought the world together after the greatest tragedy in human history. We have come a long way since then.

The European Union and its Member States have progressively put in place a comprehensive external migration policy and strengthened the work along the Central Mediterranean route. Saving and protecting the lives of migrants and refugees, breaking the business model of smugglers and traffickers and providing legal pathways, while addressing the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement are at the very heart of the EU's policy.

Today we stand united in our determination to protect and to promote the rights of all children everywhere. These rights are universal, indivisible and inalienable. Every single child has the right to grow up in a safe and nurturing environment – free from any form of violence, abuse, harassment or neglect. It is our collective task to do everything we can to ensure that these rights are respected and ensured for every child, everywhere.

Democracy cannot live without free, diverse and independent media. Journalists and media actors across the globe hold states, government officials, corporations and society at large accountable for their actions. But far too many among them face threats and attacks simply for carrying out their work, while the perpetrators of these attacks often act with total impunity.

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