The international conference on children’s rights and protection against violence
During the Slovenian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, an International Conference on Children’s Rights and Protection against Violence will be held in Ljubljana at the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia on 6 and 7 October. Under the honorary patronage of the President, Dr Danilo Türk, the conference is co-organised by the National Assembly, the Human Rights Ombudsman and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Some 60 participants will be attending the conference, including the President of the Republic, Dr Danilo Türk, the President of the National Assembly, Dr Pavel Gantar, the Human Rights Ombudsman, Dr Zdenka Čebašek-Travnik, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Samuel Žbogar, the Minister of the Interior, Katarina Kresal, the Minister of Education and Sport, Dr Igor Lukšič, and the Minister of Labour, Family and Social Affairs, Dr Ivan Svetlik.
Several Slovenian and foreign experts - including the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg - will present their views on children's rights. Special attention will be given to children, who will take an active part in the conference.
The Conference will focus on three topics: education on the rights of the child; the right to protection against violence; and the activities of the Council of Europe and the Government of the Republic of Slovenia in these areas. Each panel will be moderated by a National Assembly deputy - Dr Andreja Črnak Meglič, Chair of the Committee on Labour, the Family, Social Policy and Disability, Eva Irgl, Chair of the Commission for Petitions, Human Rights, and Equal Opportunities and Darja Lavtižar Bebler, Head of the National Assembly delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
The Conference addresses those issues of children’s rights receiving most attention in international circles. In this context, special focus will be placed on the issue of violence against children. Government bodies, non-governmental organisations and schools will be presenting projects aimed at protecting children against violence.
As part of combating violence against children, international attention has been devoted particularly to the sexual abuse of children. Last November, Brazil hosted World Congress III Against Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents, emphasising the need for a comprehensive approach to the issue at national and international levels. The Council of Europe will soon launch a campaign aimed at raising public awareness in Europe; the campaign is based on the Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse. The sexual abuse of children still remains one of taboo topics in our society. The discussion will focus on the following aspects: prevention, sexual abuse and the new media, prosecution, and working with victims.
As pointed out by several non-governmental organisations, more attention should be placed on violence against children as a particularly vulnerable social group. The vulnerability of children is multi-faceted; in addition to being vulnerable as children, they may also belong to other vulnerable social groups, which is a particular problem during an economic and financial crisis. Attention will also be given to certain other aspects of violence against children, particularly the unacceptability of corporal punishment.
The other important issue which will receive particular attention at the Conference is human rights education. The Conference will include presentations of certain Slovenian and international efforts in the field, including a presentation of the human rights education project ‘Our Rights’, which was initiated, designed, and run by Slovenian experts. In September, during its Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Slovenia began implementing the human rights education project ‘Our Rights’ for 50,000 children in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and North Ossetia in the Russian Federation.
During the Conference, which will be broadcast live on the parliamentary channel of TV Slovenia, the participants will have the opportunity to see the ‘Our Rights’ exhibition, exhibition of the Council of Europe ‘Europe is MORE than you think' and an ‘information market’, where several Slovenian NGOs and government agencies will present their work in the field of children’s rights and human rights education.