12 August 2016

EU and UNICEF widen partnership to better protect child rights in South-East Europe

The European Union and UNICEF have broadened an important regional partnership that aims to protect children from violence and better include children with disabilities into society. Since 2011, the EU and UNICEF have been working together with countries currently in the process of joining the EU, such as Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Turkey. This partnership is now expanding to include Kosovo, Montenegro, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

As of this year, the NGO European Disability Forum (EDF) has joined the partnership. Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations said: ”We believe that this partnership can make a real difference to the life of children in the region. We rely on UNICEF's and EDF's expertise and knowledge to influence policies that have an impact on children who are victims of violence and children with disabilities. At the same time, it is crucial to reach out to civil society and grass-root organisations working on child protection and to promote children inclusion in societies. Therefore, a large part of the funding will be devoted to support small civil society organisations to achieve real change and sustainable improvements of children's daily life and future perspective.” The partnership will contribute to improving coordination for multi-sectoral responses to violence against children. Key professionals will get better data, innovative tools, knowledge and the mechanisms to prevent or respond to violence, abuse and neglect and to narrow the social distance between children with and without disabilities.

More information can be found here.