Western Balkans

Apostolova: Protection and promotion of rights of the children is a key EU objective

22/11/2016 - 17:22

The Head of EU office in Kosovo/EUSR, Nataliya Apostolova, signed on Tuesday, 22 November 2016, the Statement of Commitment to become the newest member of "Friends of Children" during the launching event of the ”Child Protection Index” by the Coalition of NGOs for Child Protection in Kosovo KOMF. After signing the Statement of Commitment Ms, Apostolova delivered the following speech:

Dear Ms. Kelmendi,

Honoured Prime Minister Mustafa, Ombudsperson Jashari, Ambassadors, and guests,

  • It is my pleasure to be here first as a chief of the EU Office because the launching event of this Index brings Kosovo closer to Europe. Second, I'm happy to be here as a woman but also as a mother because I can see that in this country the child protection and child policies are very much a high priority. I am particularly happy to know that there is a coalition of NGOs in Kosovo which is working together on child protection. Being here today is a reflection of the fact that we all care for the children, for their needs and for their rights.
  • By having this cooperation between civil society and authorities, we can ensure that children are treated as fully-fledged members of society.
  • Protection and promotion of rights of the children is a key European Union objective. All policies and actions with an impact on children must be designed, implemented and monitored in line with the best interests of the children.
  • The EU is pleased to have supported the Child Protection Index which is intended to inspire regional cooperation, encourage more robust implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Children, and most importantly serve as a policy instrument for governments, civil society and donors to analyse and ultimately improve the child protection system.
  • Children have a very special place in our societies because of their vulnerability and their special needs for protection. Protection from different kind of abuses and limitations they endure. Concrete actions have to be taken to live up to our obligation which is to ensure respect for every child’s fundamental human rights which should include: right to education, health and best social services.
  • In order to respond to the needs of the children it is necessary for the authorities to build a plan for sustainable and fair financing of social services, such as the establishment of specific grant for social services within the Law on Local Governance Finance.
  • The rights of children are systematically raised during dialogues with non-EU countries; the EU calls on partner countries to ratify relevant international conventions, lift reservations, adopt or revise national legislation, identify areas where technical assistance could be helpful and promote good practices of protection of children's rights.
  • In Kosovo, one very concrete tool is our Stabilisation and Association Agreement. The Dialogue on Good Governance and Human Rights would be the forum where all these issues are going to be discussed. During the last meeting held in January 2016, we stressed the need for the new Law on Child Protection to be adopted in an open and transparent process, and most notably with sufficient budget.
  • The EU in Kosovo has been supporting reforms in juvenile justice system since 2007. The current, third, phase of the project will focus more on prevention and increasing the quality of service at the municipal level. But also on the overall overview of the current legal framework.
  • We have seen improvements in the legal framework for the protection of the rights of children in Kosovo over the past few years. But we feel that more can be done for the welfare and well-being of children, especially by improving the implementation of legislation, policies and allocation of adequate budget for children. I am saying this fully aware of the difficult socio-economic situation in Kosovo, particularly the situation of disabled of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian children.
  • The world would be a better place if children’s fundamental human rights would be respected, promoted and protected. The children deserve nothing less. And we owe them at least that much.

Many thanks.


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