We celebrate this year the 10th anniversary of the Charter of the Fundamental Rights and the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Yet these rights continue to be challenged around the world. In particular, children and youth continue to be the main victims of human rights violations. They are forced to seek refuge, recruited as soldiers, forced into child labour or torn apart from their families against their will.
On 2 December, just my second day in office as High Representative and Vice President, I was among those who gathered in Paris to pay homage to the thirteen French soldiers who lost their lives in Mali on 25 November during an operation against jihadists.
The European Union reaffirms today its support to the universal ban on chemical weapons. It is a tribute to all those who have lost their lives or loved ones and suffered harm from chemical weapons as well as a commitment to promoting peace and security.
The Chemical Weapons Convention and the crucial work of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have contributed to eliminating 97% of chemical weapons stockpiles declared by possessor states. This makes the Chemical Weapons Convention the world's most successful disarmament treaty.
Today, the EU will light up its headquarters in Brussels to show its support for eradicating an alarming problem that is still too common. One in three women in Europe has experienced physical and/or sexual violence.
This year we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child - the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history that has helped transform children's lives around the world for the better.