Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-01-15-Speech-2-179"

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"Mr President, children are not mini-adults, nor are they what people call a natural part of the family or of society. They are legal persons with their own rights. All Member States of the EU signed the ground-breaking UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, but in many aspects of children’s rights we in Europe have barely scratched the surface. One bright spot is the fact that the European Commission has put children’s rights on the agenda, but the Commission’s proposal, in our view, still comprises too many fine words and too few specific measures. I am pleased that the report fleshes out the Commission’s recommendation, and for this I reiterate my congratulations to the rapporteur. We must hope that the Commission is doing its homework and will be more specific in the 2008 Green Paper on the rights of the child. We need indicators and precise timetables for the realisation of children’s rights. Allow me to focus on three points that are important to me. The first of these concerns the rights of girls, especially girls from migrant backgrounds. Realising the rights of the child invariably involves the establishment of equality between girls and boys and equal opportunities for both, and this is reflected in the present report too. Let me express my gratification at the adoption by the committee and the rapporteur of our proposal that headscarves for girls should be banned at least in primary schools in the EU in order to give girls genuine freedom of choice and the right to a childhood. Likewise, there is no justification for prohibiting girls from migrant backgrounds from attending school. The second point to which I attach great importance is that of violence against children and increasing neglect. There is a need to improve children’s media literacy. There has been an alarming rise in the dissemination of pornographic material and scenes of violence through mobile phones, and this leads to desensitisation and an accelerating spiral of violence. I ask you, Mr Frattini, to look long and hard at ways of improving the protection of young people in the media and of protecting children more effectively against violence. My third point concerns the environmental rights of the child, a subject that no one has raised yet. By this I mean the right of every child to grow up in an intact environment. Regrettably, in its strategy on the rights of the child, the Commission did not consider the need to take more account of children, not just adults, when we set future pollutant ceilings. That applies to noise levels as well as to hazardous substances. I therefore ask you to incorporate the environmental rights of the child, for today’s children are the citizens of tomorrow. We all bear responsibility for ensuring that our European home is also a child-friendly home."@en1

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