Lords concerned that child protection is ignored in EU external trade deals

07 December 2011

The House of Lords EU Committee has written to the European Commission to draw attention to their concerns about respect for the rights of children throughout the EU and beyond.

The Committee have come to their conclusions following a short inquiry in which the Lords Social Policies and Consumer Protection EU Sub-Committee heard evidence from experts in children’s rights.

They are concerned that, although there is a commitment by the EU to ensure their policies do not ignore children and there are posts specifically designed to focus on the rights of the child, there seems to be little clarity about how these positions fulfil their function.

The Committee have raised several areas that are of particular concern:

  • a fear that the EU is failing to take children’s rights into account in all of its policies, including in its trade relations with other countries, such as India;
  • insufficient political priority has been given to the Rights of the Child;
  • a lack of transparency and clarity over the role and membership of the Commission’s Inter Service Group (ISG) on children’s rights;
  • the absence of research data on how policies affect children, and a lack of agreement on the definition of a ‘child’ and a ‘youth’ in terms of age;
  • an urgent need to improve implementation of EU legislation relating to the trafficking of children; and
  • the lack of action to address significant weaknesses that exist in helping children to participate in decision making in policies that affect them, at EU level.

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