Universal Children’s Day: Joint Statement by the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

On the occasion of Universal Children’s Day tomorrow, on 20 November, the European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy stated the following: “This year has shown more than ever how crises disrupt children’s lives, no matter which country they live in. The pandemic has shone a light on the deep inequalities that persist and exposed serious gaps in child protection systems all over the world. Over 1.5 billion students across the world have been affected by school closures and at least 1 in 3 – more than 460 million – cannot access remote learning. In September the EU together with UNICEF sent out an S.O.S message to the world to promote actions to maintain access to education for every child. The pandemic has also increased the reports of child sexual abuses online. In July, the EU adopted the EU Strategy for a more effective fight against child sexual abuse and in September a legislative proposal to ensure that companies can continue detecting, reporting and removing child sexual abuse online. The EU also continues to implement the CLEAR Cotton project, that monitors children’s situation to ensure they do not fall back into child labour and drop out of school completely. The newly adopted EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024 sets out actions to promote, protect and fulfil all rights of all children. Its implementation will be supported by the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027, which reaffirms the importance of the rights of the child through geographic programmes and thematic initiatives. Our next step is to adopt the EU Strategy on the rights of the child in 2021, to address the challenges that have emerged from the pandemic, propose actions to strengthen child participation, protection and promotion of the rights of the child at all levels, in the EU and globally. Children have the unmatched opportunity to be the greatest agents of change. It is our collective responsibility to give them the means to reach their full potential; this is how we build free, inclusive, prosperous, peaceful and democratic societies.” The full statement is available online.