The refugee influx, rapidly developing digital environment, economic crisis – all these new challenges that Europe is facing today create new risks for human rights of children. How the member States of the Council of Europe can best address these challenges will be the key theme of a high-level conference in Sofia (Bulgaria) to be held on 5-6 April 2016 at Sofia Hotel Balkan.
The conference is organised by the Council of Europe and by the government of Bulgaria that currently chairs the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and identified children rights as one of its Chairmanship priorities.
Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev; Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, President of Malta Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Labour and Social Policy of Bulgaria, Ivailo Kalfin, will speak during the opening ceremony. The keynote speech will be delivered by the Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Nils Muižnieks. Daniel Mitov, Bulgarian Foreign Minister, Margus Tsahkna, Foreign Minister of Estonia that will hold the next Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers, and Benyam Dawit Mezmur,Chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child will address the participants in the morning plenary session.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Special Representative of the Council of Europe Secretary General for Migration Tomáš Boček will be among speakers at the panel on the rights of children on the move and lessons learned from the refugee crisis.
High-level delegations from the Council of Europe member States, including 18 ministers, representatives of international organisations, NGOs dealing with children rights, as well as children of 15-18 years from all over Europe who have personal stories to share, will participate in the conference.
At the conference, the new Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child for 2016-2021 will be officially launched. It focuses on equal opportunities for all children, participation of all children in decision-making; life free from violence and child-friendly justice for all children; as well as rights of the child in the digital environment.
Source: Council of Europe