“No child is left behind” – Statement from the European Commission on Universal Children’s Day

To mark the occasion of Universal Children's Day that takes place on 20 November every year, the European Commission issued a statement reaffirming its commitment to the protection and education of children worldwide.

“Today we stand united in our determination to protect and to promote the rights of all children everywhere. These rights are universal, indivisible and inalienable. Every single child has the right to grow up in a safe and nurturing environment – free from any form of violence, abuse, harassment or neglect. It is our collective task to do everything we can to ensure that these rights are respected and ensured for every child, everywhere.

Our aim is to ensure their access to safe, inclusive and high-quality learning opportunities. Starting from early childhood, the EU invests to make sure that children receive nutrition, health-care and education, and to tackle child labour. Through Europe 2020 Strategy, the European Social Fund, as well as the European Pillar of Social Rights, the EU is stepping up efforts to prevent child poverty and social exclusion. And in this digital age, the EU helps to create a safe, empowering, child-friendly environment in the digital sphere where minors are protected from unlawful processing of their personal data and from harmful audio-visual content online.

Armed conflict, poverty, natural and man-made disasters, or displacement naturally take their hardest toll on children. The European Union is at the forefront of supporting children, especially those most vulnerable and affected by crises, both inside the EU and abroad. We work with our partners to provide access to psychological support and trauma treatment, helping to protect and reintegrate children who were associated with armed forces and groups around the world. We are helping partner countries to strengthen juvenile justice systems, in line with international standards to protect children and minors. All in all, the EU provides 10% of its humanitarian aid budget for in education in emergencies. This is far above the global average and the EU therefore calls upon global partners to follow suit.

The EU also contributes to protecting all children in migration, whether they are unaccompanied or not. The interests and the rights of children must be safeguarded and protected at all times: to receive appropriate accommodation, health care, access to education as well as guardianship where needed. In combating trafficking in human beings, children also remain at the core of the EU agenda. Our ultimate goal remains to prevent and ultimately fully eradicating this crime, including by countering the culture of impunity for actors involved in the trafficking chain.

Our efforts are also focused on the fight against harmful practices for children in Europe and abroad. In over 30 countries, we are addressing child marriage and Female Genital Mutilation with a focus on protection, access to education and healthcare, as well as on strengthening enforcement mechanisms and helping to change social norms. We are also actively fighting the dissemination of child sexual abuse material online.

We do all this and more because we are convinced that investing in children throughout their journey to adulthood is first and foremost a moral duty towards them. But it is also an essential investment in a better future for all of us. On this day, therefore, we reaffirm our commitment to redouble our efforts and also call upon all partners worldwide to help work towards the day that no child is left behind.”