Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-01-15-Speech-2-181"

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"Mr President, I have many things to say about the rights of the child. Firstly, I welcome the amendments to this report that focus on the family and their importance in providing for a child’s development. I would like to stress the primacy of parents – not the state – as the guardian of children and, for this reason, the importance of support for the family in their responsibilities. The state should assist the parents in protecting and promoting the child, and it should only take over from the parents when the parents are unwilling or unable to serve their children. On the issue of disability, I praise this report for acknowledging that children with disabilities should be assured full respect and granted equal treatment. I myself have represented many children and their parents who struggled to guarantee education for them. A tragic flaw in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on which this is based is that, although it guarantees primary education for all children, it makes specific educational provision needed by disabled children ‘subject to resources’. These three words have militated against children with special needs getting the help they need in my country. Amendment 3 deals with children within the EU who have previously been in institutionalised care. This important issue has come to the attention of many MEPs following the BBC documentary which focused on care homes for children with disabilities. There will be a screening of this documentary with the participation of the film-maker on 4 March 2008, to which I invite all my colleagues. Recently the EU voted against an amendment placed before the Committee on Budgets that sought to divert EU funding that goes into institutions towards community- and family-based services. This amendment failed. We must be coherent in our approach to de-institutionalisation and integrate children into society, and we must put our funding into community-based approaches in the future. I also welcome the strong line Parliament takes on trafficking, especially with Amendment 1. It is hard to imagine anything worse happening to a child than being stolen from their family, whether for military, sexual or labour purposes, or even to fulfil the desire of a couple for a child. I also want to mention the trafficking of babies before and after birth for organ and cell harvesting and remind my colleagues that the preamble of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child includes children before birth as well as after. I am pleased that the report takes into account migrant families and unaccompanied minors. With increasing cultural blends, we must continue to acknowledge the importance of embracing all children in our ever-changing society. As much as it is wonderful that labour migration enables parents to go abroad and earn more and provide better for their families, we need to be working towards an equity that will not necessitate this separation and will allow families to stay together in their home country or their country of choosing. Now I should like to address the issue of sexual and reproductive rights, which is repeated in six articles of this report. I am personally responsible for six teenage girls and two teenage boys. Of course they need to know the facts of life but, at the same time, they need to know the most important fact of life: that they are extremely valuable, developing individuals, persons with a dignity and a future, with a unique contribution to make to their community and family. They do not benefit from the message that is so often given in the name of sexual and reproductive rights that they cannot be responsible and are, in fact, walking disasters who need adult help with damage control, and that they can get this help without any negative effects to themselves or without the knowledge of their parents. The richness of adolescence can and should receive the support of those who are older, who love them and who have already been there."@en1
"Bulgaria’s abandoned children"1

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