Germany needs efficient politics for children!
On the occasion of the final congress of the National Action Plan “For a Child-Oriented Germany 2005-2010” of the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth on 9 December 2010, the German Child Protection Federation and UNICEF Germany are requesting the grouping of child-political measures and the adoption of an Ombudsman for Children in the Federal Government.
“Germany clearly needs efficient politics for children,” says the Chairman of UNICEF Germany, Jürgen Heraeus. “In addition, the better coordination of child-political measures is necessary. An Ombudsman for Children in the Federal Government should bring together all the fragmented pieces and, ultimately, grant the interests of children more importance.”
In the auspices of the “National Action Plan for a child-oriented Germany 2005-2010”, the Government and the civil society have been working together on six topic areas to bring the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into effect in Germany: Equal opportunities through education, growing up without violence, promoting healthy living and healthy environmental conditions, involvement of children and teenagers, development of an adequate standard of living for all children as well as international obligations. Not one of the six domains is finished. It still lacks the implementation of fundamental rights – especially for refugee children.
“The Ministry for Family Affairs doesn’t campaign enough for children’s rights,” says the President of the Germany Child Protection Federation, Heinz Hilgers. “If, however, neither the Ministry nor another area in the government is willing or in the position to campaign for the rights and the interests of children, an institution has to be created.”
In 29 European countries from Albania to Great Britain, there are now independent bodies which protect children’s rights. In most countries they call themselves ombudspersons. In contrast, in Germany politics for children are divided into different departments and are, therefore, often ineffective. The Children’s Commission of the Bundestag is allegedly a subcommittee without right of petition, without reach-through rights and without a budget. A Federal Ombudsman must be competent in combining and controlling fragmented departmental politics in the sense and interest of child-oriented politics. UNICEF Germany and the German Child Protection Federation claim that instead of burying the first signs of coherent children’s rights politics, the Federal Government should now begin searching for a suitable person for the post as the Federal Ombudsman for Children.
(UNICEF on 9 December 2010)
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