The Federal Government Human Rights Commissioner, Markus Löning, issued the following statement in Berlin today (13 March):
I am shocked by the fact that one in five children in Europe is a victim of sexual violence. We must unite our efforts to change that.
The Council of Europe has a crucial role to play here. By initiating several agreements that are binding under international law, it has created a pan-European legal basis for the protection of children against any form of violence. The Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse has been a groundbreaking achievement in this regard.
I will do what I can to ensure that Germany ratifies this agreement. It must be urgently implemented in all member states. Only then can it be of real help to the children.
On 14 March, the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly is holding its first meeting at the German Bundestag on the protection of children. Markus Löning is opening the conference, which is part of the Council of Europe’s ONE in FIVE Campaign to stop sexual violence against children. It will be attended by the President of the German Bundestag, Norbert Lammert; the Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, Hermann Kues; parliamentarians from the Council of Europe’s 47 member states; and representatives of civil society. They will discuss strategies and measures to be employed in international cooperation to improve the protection of children. Germany is supporting the campaign with funds from the Federal Foreign Office.
Currently 25 Council of Europe member states have ratified the Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, which is also known as the Lanzarote Convention. Germany signed the agreement on 25 October 2007.