In the Netherlands, the rights of children are trampled underfoot, conclude UNICEF the Netherlands and Defence for Children in the Annual Statement on Children’s Rights 2015, published on May 20. This research points out that vulnerable children in particular are susceptible to a violation of their rights.
Figures on children’s rights
The organizations say the figures are shocking. Almost eight in ten children in juvenile detention centers are held in custody awaiting judgment. Furthermore, there are still 2,000 children on a waiting list of the Child’s Welfare Office, a drop of 22 percent compared to 2013, but still a much too high number. Last year, 110 children left asylum reception facilities, without it being known where they’ve gone. "These children are at great risk of becoming victims of children trafficking and exploitation," says Sabine de Jong of UNICEF the Netherlands. "The authorities are simply responsible for these children and have to investigate the disappearances."
Accountability to the UN
In 1995, the Netherlands signed the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child and in this regard the country will be held accountable on May 27 before the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva. "The figures are very worrying," says Aloys van Rest, director of Defence for Children. "In the four major Dutch cities there is, for example, still excessive family violence in half of the families known to have committed child abuse one and a half years ago. Last year, the number of reports of online sexual abuse has risen by 77 percent, to 1,331. The Netherlands still has a lot to work on. The state secretary for public health, welfare and sport, Martin van Rijn, will have a tough job on his hands during the UN session."
UNICEF the Netherlands and Defence for Children call on the Dutch government to implement the principles of the UN Treaty on the Rights of Children in law, policies and in practice, without reservation. This includes the right to participation; children have the right to have their say in decisions that concern them. In this year’s Annual Statement, they've therefore been given the opportunity to give their opinion on the figures and recommendations of each theme that relate to the rights of children.