The EU thanks the Special Representative for her update. We remain strong supporters of the mandate and also welcome the particular efforts made in the previous year to act as a bridge-builder between actors in response to the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As illustrated in the report, the challenges of ending violence against children were immense already before COVID-19 struck, while the response measures to the pandemic and the disruption in services have rendered children even more vulnerable to neglect, violence and abuse. We would welcome the Special Representative’s views on opportunities to ensure a system wide UN-approach on the rights of the child, including the elimination of violence against children.
We agree that ensuring the meaningful inclusion and active participation of children and youth in decisions that affect them is critical for ensuring more effective policies. This is a specific goal outlined in the EU’s human rights action plan 2020-2024, which will be built on in the EU’s forthcoming strategy on the rights of the child 2021-2024, also mentioned in the Special Representative’s report. This strategy, which was elaborated building on the voices of children and youth and a study on challenges and opportunities for improvement of child participation in the EU and its member states, contains measures to support development of both new and existing child participation mechanisms at local and national level, as well as promote participation of children in the work of the European Institutions and EU agencies.
We welcome the Special representative’s engagement with the EU and the HRC look forward to our continued cooperation in the coming year.