Girl children continue to be discriminated against and subjected to various forms of violence in all parts of the world. They have lower status and poorer health compared to boys.
The promotion and protection of the rights of the child is an important objective of the EU andthe rights of the child are enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The EU is committed to combat all forms of discrimination and violence against the girl child.
The EU has also made a clear commitment under its current Gender Equality Strategy to combat gender-based violence against women and girls, and it is currently working on focused actions in view of developing a clear policy response to tackle this problem. One example is the forthcoming package of EU legislation and practical measures on Victims’ Rights which will be presented next May. Making the justice system more child-friendly in Europe will be a key action item for the next years. It is an area of high practical relevance where the EU has, under the Treaties, competences to turn the rights of the child into reality by means of EU legislation.
The EU will also launch actions under the gender equality policy that particularly focus on the empowerment of women, awareness raising and collection and analysis of statistics on violence against women and girls. We will also improve the use of EU funding to support the work of European organisations and public authorities to prevent and combat violence against women and children.
In the EU external policy, the EU adopted in 2008 Guidelines on violence against women and girls and combating all forms of discrimination against them Under these guidelines, the EU has decided in 2011 to launch regional campaigns to promote womens rights, notably on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), early and forced marriages, so called Honour crimes and sexual violence and rape in armed conflict.
The EU is committed to addressing the short, medium and long term impact of armed conflict on girls and boys in an effective and comprehensive manner. In December 2010, the EU revised the implementation strategy to the EU Guidelines on Children and Armed Conflicts providing for enforced concrete actions. The EU has committed to paying particular attention to the girl child in this context.
Questions to the panellists:
– Statistics on gender-based violence. Despite substantial work to improve the availability of statistics on Gender Based Violence there is still a lack of comparable data on the nature, prevalence and incidence of the various types of violence against girls, which is as a major concern and barrier to effective policy making.
o What is currently being done in this area to produce reliable statistics particularly on issues such as violence against girls in schools and how perpetrators are dealt with?
o Will indicators be developed that will effectively be used by all/most countries so that statistics can be compared?
Security Council Resolution 1960 from December 2010 requests the Secretary General to establish monitoring, analysis and reporting arrangements on conflict-related sexual violence, including rape in situations of armed conflict and post-conflict.
How to effectively link this work with the monitoring and reporting mechanism implemented under Security Council resolutions 1612 (2005) and 1882 (2009) on children and armed conflict? How to make sure that these arrangements receive all the relevant information and support in order to become meaningful and coordinated tools in the fight against sexual violence and rape of girls in conflict? More precisely, how to concretely engage United Nations actors, regional organisations and national institutions, civil society organisations, health-care service providers and womens groups?