Rights of Children in EU – challenges of monitoring and implementation: view from UN CRC and Lithuania Dainius Puras UN Committee on the Rights of the Child Vilnius university EU FRA Stakeholders Meeting , Vienna , 2 3 02 201 1
Experience from UN CRC and process of transition in the region of C EE
Enthusiastic reform movement in the 1990’s towards modern alternatives to institutional care and punitive approaches : focus on civil rights and freedoms, pilot community based services supported by international foundations, concept of institutional care c hallenged as outdated. Ratification of CRC and ambitious goal to join EU
Stagnation during the next decade (2000-2010): improving conditions in institutional care as a priority. Opportunistic approach and survivalistic attitudes prevail over vision of empowering children as right holders and principles of autonomy/participation and civil rights/freedoms. After EU accession and during economic crisis institutional care and punitive approaches strengthen their positions while development of modern child/youth friendly and f amily support services is under threat
Institutional care overused throughout all Europe (Browne K., 2006), still much more pronounced this phenomenon is in CEE countries , including newer EU Member States
Children from 0 to 3 in institutional care. Disabilities and perceived disabilities. Institutional care, starting from “infant homes” , sadly contributes to growth of numbers of children and adults with disabilities and in institutional care
Weak alternatives to institutional care, especially in new er Member states. Weak concept of investing in more competent parenting, instead – tradition of moralizing “bad parents” and “protection” of children in institutional care
EU membership factor – more visible before accession, not so effective after accession. Alarming information about EU structural funds supporting institutional care .
Incentives for prioritizing institutional care: lack of holistic approach to RoC
Vicious cycles of stigma, social exclusion, intolerance and reliance on institutional care reinforcing each other : urgent need to recognize the systemic failure and to seriously address it . How can data collection and monitoring activities contribute? Who, how and what should measure and monitor?
Economic / social rights vs. civil rights and freedoms – hidden hierarchy of rights as justification of institutional care and other regressive tendencies
Right to life and survival or right to life, survival and development? (CRC art.6) . Shortcomings of the UN MDG concept
Rights of persons in institutions vs. right to live in family and community ( least restricted ) environment
Legislation and everyday practice: when exceptions (violating human rights) turn into unwritten rules
Risky compromises throughout Europe: Concepts of “good” institution and “balanced” spectrum of services including institutional care. Justification of institutional care as “real-politik”
Lack of culture of evaluation of outcomes and inde pendent monitoring.
To address all these challenges, EU membership and EU enlargement needs to be effectively used as a unique opportunity for change of paradigm in culture of human services in all Member states
Trends in capacities of duty-bearers (to respect, protect and fulfill rights) and capacities of rights holders to claim their rights) need to be monitored. This could be a guiding principle in prioritizing data collection
Violence against/among children – a need of indicators monitoring
CRC General comment N.13
Tendencies of retrogressive policies with regard to challenging behavior of adolescents
Misuse of “zero tolerance” policies
Selective focus on high-profile cases vs. evidence-based analysis of societal/contextual trends
Ban of corporal punishment of children – important indicator. Evaluation of prevention activities (e.g., parent training programs)
A need for balancing to secure holistic approach and avoid fragmentation
Protection – participation – provision
Economic/social/cultural – civil/political rights
Right to life/survival – right to development
Quantitative – qualitative analysis
Process - outcomes
Risk factors – protective factors (resilience)
Legal measures (criminalization of offenses)– preventive measures (e.g., parent training)
Evidence – values
Quantity – quality – direction of measures
Safeguards to prevent pitfalls in the process of monitoring
EU child rights agenda plus monitoring of implementation of UN CRC – unique opportunity of effective combination, to prevent fragmented approach. E.g., early childhood indicators (CRC)
Meaning of data collection and monitoring: who needs it? The need of self-reflection and self-critical analysis – how to motivate governments?
Openness and transparency of the process is crucial for supporting the culture of evaluation as a basic condition for healthy policies
Large number of just quantitative data may hide the systemic challenges. Qualitative approach needs to be added, to monitor contextual trends, involvement of children, attitudes, de-facto discrimination, etc.
Synergies: EC – FRA - CRC, CRPD, CoE, NGOs,,etc.
Public health approach can be helpful
Most important finding (CAMHEE and other projects /studies ) - identification of existing gaps and vicious circles
Lack of evidence based national policies
Weak culture of evaluation of outcomes
Lack of involvement of service users in decision making – participation and empowerment principles challenged
Lack of trust between main actors (government, civil society, professional groups). Lack of self-critical analysis by governmental sector – hence defensive ness and self-feeding systems of care
Weak intersectorial coordination. Lack of managerial skills in all levels (policy, services, individual cases)
COMBINATION OF THESE GAPS MAY LEAD TO INEFFECTIVE ALLOCATION OF RESOURCES AND SYSTEMIC FAILURES
A need to break vicious circles – opportunities and challenges. What is the role of monitoring and indicators?
Think globally, act locally – how can this principle be applied to holistic realization of child rights in the context of EU enlargement?
How to translate messages from modern research into everyday practice of policy makers and service providers?
How to make arguments based on evidence and human rights approach prevail over arguments based on lobby of interest groups and “historical” principle of resource allocations?
How can be issues of pr otection of rights of children raised higher in political agenda?
How to form a strong coalition of stakeholders on the side of progressive realization of the CRC? How to motivate stakeholders?
Independent monitoring of implementation of child rights , with meaningful data collection, is a crucial issue. Importance of good governance and strong civil society
It is of vital importance for the future of EU that , EU countries break vicious circles of stigma, helplessness and social exclusion and develop effective child friendly services , with dignity and respect as key concepts