HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL BEGINS INTERACTIVE DIALOGUE ON VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN AND ON THE SALE OF CHILDREN
Concludes Interactive Dialogue on Human Rights and the Environment and on Foreign Debt
7 March 2013
The Human Rights Council at a midday meeting began a clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on violence against children and the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.
Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on violence against children, presenting her annual report, said that strides had been made towards the prevention and elimination of violence against children but many challenges and gaps persisted visibly. Progress needed to be nurtured and sustained and positive initiatives scaled up. This was particularly important in the context of economic and financial crises which caused cuts in social spending, enhanced risks of child abandonment and increased stress, violence and abuse in the home, school and community at large.
Najat Maalla M’jid, Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, said that her thematic report highlighted the situation and good practices, as well as challenges remaining in the area of child sex tourism. The increasing development of cheap travel and tourism, as well as communication technologies, facilitated in the absence of regulatory information the access of sexual predators to children. The establishment of integrated strategies, relevant legislation, and a legal global framework to combat the transnational and evolving dimension of the phenomenon were all needed.
Guatemala and Honduras spoke as concerned countries.
During the interactive dialogue, the following delegations took the floor: Uruguay, Venezuela, Brunei on behalf of Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Indonesia, Bahrain on behalf of the Arab Group, Morocco, Gabon on behalf of the African Group, Botswana, Palestine, Sierra Leone, Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Senegal, Qatar, Switzerland, Egypt, European Union, Austria, China, Paraguay, Germany, Croatia, Peru, Georgia, United States, Australia, Algeria, Chile, Belgium, Luxembourg, Holy See and France.
At the beginning of the midday meeting, the Council concluded its clustered interactive dialogue with the Independent Expert on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment and the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights. The two Independent Experts presented their reports yesterday and a summary of their comments can be found here.
In concluding remarks, John H. Knox, Independent Expert on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, stressed that the contribution of a human rights approach to the environment was that it personalised environmental issues, highlighted the urgency of solving environmental problems and focusing on victims, and it drew attention to legal duties. Mr. Knox was optimistic that a human rights perspective would also find an interested audience in other parts of the United Nations at large.
Cephas Lumina, Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights, in closing remarks, said that the link between illicit financial flows and human rights must be understood in the context of countries of origin. These flows reduced resources available for the realization of development and the creation of conditions in which human rights could be fully realized. The final report would provide an evidence-based assessment and offer recommendations on how countries could address it.
Centre Europe-Tiers Monde, North South XXI and East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders participated in the interactive dialogue.
This afternoon, at 3 p.m., the Council will resume its annual full-day meeting on the rights of the child with a panel discussion focusing on challenges in achieving the full realization of the right of the child to health. It will resume its clustered interactive debate on violence against children and on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography at 10 a.m. on Friday, 8 March.
Continuation of the Interactive Dialogue on Human Rights and Foreign Debt and on the Environment
Centre Europe-Tiers Monde, in a joint statement, said that least developed countries’ economies were seriously perturbed by structural adjustment programmes. It urged the Independent Expert on human rights and foreign debt to continue research in this area and to shed more light on strategies implemented by transnational corporations, and recommended that he look into international financial taxation.
North South XXI said that threats to the environment were among the biggest threats to human beings everywhere, and the threats to human rights by climate change were among the most urgent. Differentiation between these two issues should be noted and action should be taken. The Council should honour the broad-based call for a Special Rapporteur on human rights and climate change.
East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders, in a joint statement, echoed the recommendation of the Independent Expert that States should recognise the important work carried out by human rights defenders working on land and environmental issues, should not tolerate their stigmatisation, and should ensure prompt and impartial investigations into alleged violations of their rights.
Concluding Remarks on Human Rights and Foreign Debt and on the Environment
JOHN KNOX, Independent Expert on human rights and the environment, in concluding remarks, thanked delegations for their comments and thanked States for their invitations. Responding to the question regarding consultations in Nairobi, Mr. Knox clarified that the consultations had addressed procedural rights in relation to human rights instruments and environmental instruments, including the rights to expression, association and remedies, among others. In addition, the consultations had brought together experts and civil society and an informal report on the consultations would be published in the near future. In response to remarks expressing concern about limiting the mandate to procedural rights, Mr. Knox said he intended to hold further consultations on substantive rights and vulnerable groups. Regarding Indonesia’s question about the application of the mandate to other actors, Mr. Knox indicated that private actors were a source of human rights problems in the environmental context. The work of John Ruggie, United Nations Secretary-General's Special Representative for Business and Human Rights, was particularly important in this regard. The work of the Independent Expert would be guided by the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, endorsed by the Council.
Concerning questions and concerns about duplication in the work of Special Procedures, this topic touched on a number of mandates, including water, toxic substances, indigenous peoples, among others; and Mr. Knox intended to continue to coordinate with other mandate holders in the preparation of the report, including any new mandates which might be created. Concerning the value of the human rights approach to the environment, Mr. Knox stressed that this approach personalised environmental issues, which were often seen as abstract and technical; it also highlighted the urgency of solving environmental problems and focusing on victims, for example of climate change; and it drew attention to legal duties, as human rights obligations were binging on all States. It was highly important to provide such a perspective and Mr. Knox would coordinate efforts with other Special Procedures to do so.
CEPHAS LUMINA, Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights, in his closing remarks said, on the question of the link between illicit financial flows and human rights, that they must be understood in the context of the country of origin. They reduced resources available to those countries for the realization of development and the creation of conditions in which human rights could be fully realized. The final report on this subject would be an evidence-based assessment of the problem, which would also offer recommendations on how countries could address it.
The Council has before it the Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on violence against children (A/HRC/22/55)
The Council has before it the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, Najat Maalla M’jid (A/HRC/22/54); an addendum to the report of the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, concerning her mission to Guatemala (A/HRC/22/54/Add.1); an addendum to the report of the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, concerning her mission to Honduras (A/HRC/22/54/Add.2); an addendum to the report of the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, concerning the comments of the State of Guatemala on the report of the Special Rapporteur (A/HRC/22/54/Add.3).
Presentation of Reports on Violence against Children and on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography
MARTA SANTOS PAIS, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children, presented her annual report to the Human Rights Council which highlighted the most significant developments and results and identified a priority agenda for the future three years of the mandate. Visible strides had been made towards the prevention and elimination of violence against children, and the world had moved a long way in which violence had gained visibility in public debate and in the policy agenda, while tangible change was building momentum across regions. The United Nations campaign for the universal ratification of the Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child had a catalytic role in the consolidation of the human rights foundation of the agenda; 26 additional States had acceded to the Optional Protocol on the sale of children and more than two thirds of the remaining countries had made a commitment in their Universal Periodic Reviews to ratify it. Children were central to this process and for this reason, the Special Representative was preparing a child friendly version of the Protocol to support children with simple, accessible and useful information on the Protocol and the way of using it safely and effectively. Field missions were a fundamental tool for the mandate, through which it kept close to Governments and national institutions, but more importantly closer to the girls and boys. There were now agendas on preventing violence against children in more than 80 countries; more than 30 countries had legislation on violence against children and increasingly there were national surveys to establish the dimension of the problem.
Despite the momentum created over the past several years, many challenges and gaps persisted visibly. The global survey of violence against children conducted by the Special Representative demonstrated that progress needed to be nurtured and sustained and positive initiatives scaled up; if not, the imperative of protecting children from violence might become diluted in the face of other competing priorities. Over the next three years, the mandate would invest heavily in early childhood and adolescence, and would focus its attention on the most vulnerable children in societies. This was particularly important in the context of economic and financial crises which caused cuts in social spending, leading to a decrease in family income, low investment in children’s development and education, enhanced risks of child abandonment and increased stress, violence and abuse in the home, school and community at large.
NAJAT MAALLA M’JID, Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, said that her thematic report highlighted the present situation, good practices as well as challenges remaining in the area of child sex tourism. Child sex tourism was a form of exploitation for sexual purposes by individuals who during their travels had relations with children under the age of 18. Two major categories were distinguished, namely occasional tourists, frequently using a cultural or economic argument to exonerate themselves, and preferential sexual tourists. The scope of the problem was a global one and not limited to a few exotic destinations. The destinations were evolving rapidly and as soon as efforts were intensified in one country, tourists moved to another. The increasing development of cheap travel and tourism as well as communication technologies, sharing of videos and the like facilitated, in the absence of regulatory information, the access of sexual predators to children wherever they were in the world. The absence of a legal framework heavily punishing this crime hindered the effective combating of the transnational dimension of this phenomenon.
Progress had been noted in many regions of the world. At the transnational cooperation level, different countries had signed protocols on information sharing and Interpol’s database made it possible to identify a number of children victims of sexual exploitation. Despite encouraging efforts, challenges remained as a lot of national legislation was not totally in line with instruments ratified. The notable disparities in the area of legislation were of benefit to the predators. Public information and prevention campaigns often remained sporadic. Judicial assistance was not always easy and best practices were not sufficiently identified and disseminated. There was a need for the establishment of integrated strategies aimed at protecting children wherever they were, for perpetrators to be punished and relevant legislation regulating the area of tourism and travel, as well as a legal global framework to combat the transnational and evolving dimension of the phenomenon, and a strengthening and extending of the system of international alert.
On country visits, Guatemala’s many efforts were noted in the protection of the rights of the child and had a relatively complete arsenal of law. Despite progress made, many children were still victims of sexual exploitation and forced labour. Vulnerability of children to all forms of exploitation occurred due to poverty, criminal networks, and uncontrolled access to technologies of communication inter alia. Access to justice was not always easy and sometimes it was slow, benefitting criminals with impunity. In Honduras, legislative reforms and action at the central and local levels to combat sale and sexual exploitation of children were noted. However many challenges were also noted, in particular the shortcomings of the education system, poverty, insecurity, violence and development of criminal networks. Assistance to children remained difficult and sporadic, despite efforts.
Statements by Concerned Countries
Guatemala, speaking as a concerned country, said that the report and observations of the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children encouraged Guatemala to intensify ongoing efforts to protect children and guarantee full enjoyment of their rights, and Guatemala’s commitment was at the highest level in this regard. Guatemala had been working on the adaptation of national obligations in order to fulfil its commitments under international instruments and counted with adequate legislation and institutions. Efforts had been made to improve inter-ministerial coordination and to decentralise a number of these programmes, and work was underway to develop a code of conduct for touristic operators. Guatemala was aware that improvement in a number of areas was needed, including the strengthening of legislation, institutions and policies. The report also showed very clearly that it was the responsibility of a number of actors to collaborate in order to ensure that protection measures were efficient.
Honduras, speaking as a concerned country, thanked the Special Rapporteur for her comprehensive report and the spirit of cooperation and professionalism displayed during her visit to Honduras. Among the actions undertaken to strengthen its legal framework, Honduras had set up an inter-institutional commission against trafficking and exploitation and adopted a law against the trafficking of women. Honduras agreed with the Special Rapporteur on the importance of counting with a strategic framework for the protection of children. A first public policy and national plan of action on human rights had been approved in January, on the basis a wide consultation process led by the Justice and Human Rights Ministry, and in which a broad range of stakeholders had taken part. These instruments included specific plans for vulnerable groups, including a plan of action focused on children with 49 urgent strategic actions.
Interactive Dialogue on Violence against Children and on the Sale of Children, Child Pornography and Child Prostitution
Uruguay said that violations of children’s rights could be prevented through substantive actions on a daily basis at different levels. Uruguay stressed the achievements in terms of adopting rigorous commitments in eight sub-regions. Regional programmes were a very important tool to identify specific priorities and sexual abuse, juvenile justice and armed violence had been the focus. It was indeed necessary and essential to deal with the implementation of a global strategy that covered all risk factors to combat child sex tourism.
Venezuela said that in the context of the capitalist economic crisis the effects of poverty became even greater on many different levels and affected the rights of children. Venezuela had adjusted its national legislation for the protection of children, the girl child and youth. In the fight against violence and sexual exploitation it had ratified the relevant instruments and had carried out dissemination activities with a view to awareness-raising. It was extremely involved and committed to the eradication of these phenomena.
Brunei, speaking on behalf of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that ASEAN was strongly committed to the promotion and protection of the rights of the child. On the international front, all ASEAN Member States had ratified and were parties to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. A number of significant initiatives had long been achieved for a better guarantee for the rights of the child, and the necessary measures had been taken to combat trafficking in persons, particularly women and children.
Indonesia shared the conclusions of the Special Representative on violence against children and noted that its Government had launched a national plan of action on the prevention and handling of violence against children in 2010, which consisted of five priority areas including prevention, health rehabilitation, social rehabilitation, return and reintegration and law development. Although Indonesia had adopted various policies, programmes and measures pertaining to the sale of children, the ratification of the Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child had been instrumental in boosting national efforts. Indonesia appreciated the thematic focus of the report of the Special Rapporteur and, in particular, its observations, conclusions and recommendations concerning effective protection.
Bahrain, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, said that the Arab Group condemned all forms of violence against children, in addition to sexual violence. This issue deserved the prompt attention of the international community and international cooperation should be enhanced to put an end to instances of violence. Children were at the heart of the Millennium Development Goals and progress made towards the implementation of these Goals could also contribute to a positive environment for children. The Arab Group welcomed the recommendations in the report and called on all countries to intensify their efforts to overcome social acquiescence to violence against children. Concerning the sale of children, the international community could do more to protect this vulnerable group and prevent abuses and exploitation.
Morocco, concerning the issue of violence against children, said that economic crises, poverty and organised crime aggravated the exposure of children to risks. Morocco welcomed the recommendations in the report of the Special Representative on violence against children and the emphasis on the transversal nature of the problem and the need for holistic approaches. In Morocco, for example, a national plan of action had been implemented. In the context of the post-2015 framework, prioritising the question of children was crucial. Concerning the report on the sale of children, Morocco informed the Council that a national observatory had been implemented along the lines of the Stockholm Plan of Action, and its penal code had been modified to reinforce the protection of children from sexual exploitation.
Gabon, speaking on behalf of the African Group, said that the protection of children from all forms of violence remained a major concern throughout the world. The African Group reaffirmed that parents had the primary responsibility for the education of children and that discipline should be administered with humanity and in accordance with the dignity of every child. There was a need for better control of tourism by States through responsible granting of licenses, promoting better awareness of the sexual abuse of children, and identifying root causes for demand.
Botswana said that violence against children occurred in many forms and contexts hence there was a need to involve all stakeholders including civil society, communities and children themselves in efforts to address this vice. Botswana was concerned by the growing worldwide phenomenon of child sex tourism which called for concerted efforts. Capacity building and awareness of all relevant stakeholders was critical in efforts to address this phenomenon. If addressed, key factors such as insufficient awareness-raising and insufficient cooperation to facilitate information sharing, could facilitate the redressing of the phenomenon.
Palestine regretted that the report did not mention the very important aspect of violence against children under foreign occupation and called on the Special Representative to include in the future strengthening of her crucial agenda a clear reference to violence against children in the occupied State of Palestine and the modalities to putting an end to the organised acts of violence. Patterns of ill-treatment included the arrests of children at their homes by heavily armed soldiers and physical and verbal abuse during transfer to an interrogation site.
Sierra Leone reiterated that a major hindrance in this area was the absence of reliable data. Sierra Leone had introduced several measures specifically targeted at children in very difficult circumstances. Sierra Leone was particularly sensitive to the issues of violence against children, prostitution, sale of children and child pornography. During its ten-year brutal war, women and children bore the brunt of the senseless suffering and brutality. Sierra Leone remained committed to advancing children’s freedom from violence and international commitments had been enshrined in national legislation. Sierra Leone reiterated the Special Representative’s view that, despite progress, the process needed nurturing to achieve real change for children.
Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said that it would be important for the international community to enhance cooperation in raising awareness against sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism, including information sharing, capacity building and sharing best practices. It should be determined whether the majority of customers were from Western developed countries. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation condemned sexual exploitation of children and the third Organization of Islamic Cooperation Conference of Ministers-In-Charge of Childhood had also called for launching community programmes and initiatives for developing early childhood and protecting it against marginalisation, violence and all forms of exploitation in the Member States.
Senegal encouraged the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on violence against children to pursue the constructive approach she had displayed in fulfilling her mandate. Concerning the issue of sexual tourism, Senegal noted that the report of the Special Rapporteur highlighted the causes, profiles of victims, and other measures. Senegal stressed the need to strengthen judicial cooperation at the regional and international level, including in the domain of cyber-security; and the importance of the media in raising awareness and the role that the education of children could play.
Qatar supported the recommendation by the General Assembly that called for the renewal of the mandate of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on violence against children and noted the need to attach more importance to the study carried out to combat violence against children. Qatar had acceded to both relevant Optional Protocols to the Convention and had adopted a great number of plans and programmes to implement commitments taken internationally. Qatar agreed on the importance of education in cutting down violence against and amongst children.
Switzerland shared the view concerning the establishment of extraterritorial jurisdiction. Protecting voluntary informers was a major challenge. By improving that protection, voluntary reports would be encouraged. An intensification of cooperation between the relevant agencies and the tourism sector was required. What did the Special Rapporteur plan on doing to improve material and psychological assistance to protect children victims of sexual abuses? The internet had led to many problems; did the Special Rapporteur intend to concentrate on this further in future?
Egypt with regards to child sex tourism, said that a firm national, regional and international message that accepted zero tolerance for this heinous crime, unequivocally denounced by law, societies, religions and morals, had to be conveyed. No pretext could justify violence against children and States were primarily responsible to ensure strict observance of national and international legal standards, and to consider measures to protect children from this crime. Egypt invited the Special Rapporteur to share her views on the situation of violence against children in the context of foreign occupation.
European Union said that the Special Representative on violence against children highlighted the results and progress and launched a global survey to assess progress in the prevention and elimination of violence against children. Where were the main gaps and shortfalls to the effective elimination of violence against children in law and practice? How would it be possible to ensure a safe environment for children where the vicious cycles of poverty and violence were interconnected? Concerning the report of the Special Rapporteur, the European Union reiterated that no comprehensive initiative had yet been developed to sufficiently take into account all of the risk factors of child sex tourism. Could the Special Rapporteur further elaborate on the recommendation to develop a standardised legislative framework?
Austria said that a complete prohibition of all violence against children, including corporal punishment and psychological violence, was enshrined in its constitution. Austria had entered bilateral and multilateral agreements on extradition and mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, and had recently included grooming as an offence in its national criminal code. How had the fast development of new, interactive media affected sex tourism patterns and what specific measures should States take to counter it effectively? How could States counter disturbing trends such as “self-produced child pornography”?
China praised the Special Rapporteur’s analysis of sexual exploitation of children in tourism, and said that it had taken measures to counter child pornography and child prostitution. Great results had been achieved in providing assistance to child victims. China had put in place a complete legal framework for protecting children, and had also created a working mechanism which included a Children’s Department. China was also a party to international instruments and had fulfilled its obligations in that respect. China called on the international community to enhance cooperation in law enforcement on this issue.
Paraguay said that the topics covered in the reports were of a highly sensitive nature and thanked the Special Representative and Special Rapporteur for the way in which they had handled these sensitive issues. The formulation of inclusive public policies was a priority for Paraguay, which had implemented a code for children and youth. It had also set up specific programmes against youth harassment. Paraguay said that it was necessary for States to support any initiative aimed at eradicating all activities which undermined the rights of the child.
Germany noted that the report of the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children emphasised the need to introduce legislative measures and codes of ethics. Last week Germany had become the third party to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure for children. Germany asked the Special Rapporteur and the Special Representative how this mechanism could be used for better prevention once it entered into force and whether they thought that the mechanism would impact the fight against impunity. The report of the Special Representative mentioned the participation of children for a sustainable implementation of children’s rights, how could children themselves be included in further efforts and could the Special Representative elaborate on the links between poverty, development, climate change and violence against children.
Croatia hoped that the precise and deep analysis of the report of the Special Representative on violence against children would be transformed into effective action on the ground taken by Governments. Croatia believed that the extension of the mandate would serve as an additional opportunity for the Special Representative to realize her ambitious agenda. Croatia underlined the importance of the implementation of the recommendations of the United Nations Study on Violence against Children, which represented a global tool for protection. Croatia asked about the future role and added value of the Third Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Peru thanked the Special Rapporteur and the Special Representative for the presentation of their reports. Peru thanked Ms. Santos Pais for her support to national efforts and the organization of an international meeting in Lima, in August 2012, on violence against children. In Latin America every year close to 80,000 children died as the result of some form of violence and Peru reiterated the need for reliable information. Peru shared the concern of the Special Rapporteur with regard to the growing use of children in sex tourism, in particular in developing countries. Peru’s strategic plan 2012-2016 of the Ministry for Trade and Tourism considered a number of actions to combat these crimes.
Georgia said that enhancing the framework of legal and social protection of children was one of Georgia’s priorities. Georgia had elaborated and was implementing a relevant legal framework. It had also set up a coordinated and effective child protection referral system, which defined the rights and obligations of the competent authorities and established mechanisms of rapid response to cases of violence against children. Victims of domestic violence identified as minors might be placed in the Crisis Centre which was equipped with a multi-disciplinary team. The illegal foreign military occupation of Georgia had severely affected the rights of children.
United States said that child protection was of paramount importance to the United States and was fully integrated in the country’s domestic and foreign policy agendas. Sharing new research on ways to address school violence was an essential component of eradicating violence against children. The commercial sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism was a matter of deep concern. United States law enforcement agencies worked to identify and apprehend those who engaged in child sex tourism, and also cooperated with their foreign counterparts to bring the perpetrators to justice if they were overseas.
Australia said that all forms of child exploitation and abuse were abhorrent. While it was encouraging to see the progress made in combating the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism, much more needed to be done. Strong action should be taken by the international community to help children realize their full potential. In tackling violence against children, important factors such as gender, poverty, and lack of education and employment should be taken into consideration. Strong domestic action combined with effective cooperation with other countries, the private sector, and civil society was crucial.
Algeria reiterated that children who were most at risk were the most vulnerable ones, such as street children and children living in extreme poverty, and stressed the importance of addressing these root causes that increased the risks of children falling victim to sexual exploitation. Could the Special Rapporteur elaborate on the overlap between sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism and trafficking in children? Algeria emphasised the importance of adopting national strategies to prevent violence against children as well as a legal ban on violence against children in all settings. Consolidating national data on violence against children could be of great importance too and Algeria emphasised the importance of addressing violence against children in the global development agenda beyond 2015.
Chile, concerning the report of the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, stressed that underreporting the number of victims was likely given the lack of investigations and data available, and supported the recommendations put forward, including concerning data, criminal prosecution and sanctions. Chile asked whether, in the context of the World Tourism Organization, it would be possible to expand its scope of action to develop strategies in this regard. Regarding the report of the Special Representative on violence against children, Chile valued the recommendations and was taking initiatives considered in the Council.
Belgium prioritised the protection of the rights of the child as part of its foreign policy. Concerning the report of the Special Representative, Belgium had produced good examples in terms of prevention, in particular concerning the collaboration between the private and public sectors. Belgium reiterated that factors such as poverty, environmental degradation and organized crime could aggravate risks for children. The struggle against violence against children was not only the responsibility of justice, policy, and health, but all departments should aim at reducing social inequality and address indirect factors in an effective struggle against the vicious cycle of violence.
Luxembourg said that more work needed to be done so that children could fully enjoy their rights. Luxembourg had been taking measures to combat the sexual exploitation of children and violence against children, including a number of prevention campaigns in partnership with non-governmental organizations and representatives of the tourism sector. Luxembourg had also adopted a law which increased the penalties for child pornography and sexual exploitation. Bearing in mind the risks associated with new information technologies, what measures would the Special Rapporteur recommend to tackle this issue?
Holy See said that the increase of human mobility and the globalization of tourism had given rise to human trafficking, whose primary motives were economic. There was a need to share good practices, to combat impunity and corruption, and to find ways to protect victims and integrate them in society. It was also necessary to confront and fight consumers who were willing to pay for the services of children. The consumption of child pornography should be criminalized, but legal measures were not enough. Ethical boundaries imposed by nature itself should also be respected.
France praised the work of the Special Representative and said that much work remained to be done to ensure that children fully enjoyed their rights. All countries, whether they were countries of origin or countries of destination of sexual tourism, should step up their efforts to combat the sexual exploitation of children. What were the most appropriate measures which could be taken to achieve that? Were there examples of good practices in terms of the implementation of legislative, social, and administrative measures to protect children from abuses?
For use of the information media; not an official record