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Impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on children’s rights

Recommendation 2206 (2021)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly debate on 22 June 2021 (18th sitting) (see Doc. 15311, report of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development, rapporteur: Baroness Doreen Massey). Text adopted by the Assembly on 22 June 2021 (18th sitting).
1. The Parliamentary Assembly refers to its Resolution 2385 (2021) “The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on children’s rights”.
2. The Assembly is convinced that considering the rights of the child in all measures taken to tackle the pandemic and its consequences is essential for the future of our societies. The Council of Europe should support its member States in building resilient social protection systems and promote equal opportunities within countries and solidarity between countries.
3. The Assembly notes that a solid foundation for addressing the impact of the pandemic on children is provided by Council of Europe instruments, such as the European Convention on Human Rights (ETS No. 5), the European Social Charter (revised) (ETS No. 163), the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (CETS No. 210, “Istanbul Convention”), the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (CETS No. 201, “Lanzarote Convention”), the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (ETS No. 108), the Convention on Cybercrime (ETS No. 185, “Budapest Convention”) and the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (CETS No. 197).
4. The Assembly thus recommends that the Committee of Ministers:
4.1 consider a possible review of the post Covid-19 pandemic recovery programmes of Council of Europe member States from the perspective of the rights of the child, based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the legal standards agreed upon in the framework of the Council of Europe;
4.2 endorse the proposals of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe on reinforcing the European Social Charter system; convene a conference of the parties without delay; integrate a parliamentary dimension into this reform process, including with a view to making all of the provisions of the Protocol amending the European Social Charter (ETS No.142, “Turin Protocol”) applicable; and ensure that children’s rights are duly taken into consideration in the process;
4.3 assess the application of the European Social Charter for improving the protection of children and their families in times of pandemic and during the subsequent socio-economic recovery, and consider a possible additional protocol on effective social protection in situations of crisis;
4.4 examine possibilities for further extending the participation of non-member States of the Council of Europe in its co-operation programmes on the rights of the child, with a special focus on low-income countries;
4.5 promote the use of impact assessments on child rights and budgeting mechanisms for child rights in any national policies applied in response to future crisis situations through the work of the Council of Europe, including under the upcoming Strategy for the Rights of the Child (2022-2027);
4.6 organise a pan-European seminar to actively promote collaboration and co-operation between the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of Europe with the aim of consolidating how they might support a strategy for making proactive and concrete suggestions for future action on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on children’s rights.