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China-Europe human rights forum focuses on children
February 18,2020   By:China.org.cn
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Lu Guangjin (middle), secretary-general of the China Society for Human Rights Studies, speaks at the opening of the first Sino-European Forum on Human Rights, held in Strasbourg, France on Dec. 4, 2015, sitting along with Guido Raimondi (left), president of the European Court of Human Rights, and Christian Mestre (right), dean of the Law and Political Science Faculty of the University of Strasbourg. [China.org.cn]
 
Dec.9,2015--The inaugural Sino-European forum on human rights was held at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France with scholars and judges discussing how to better protect the rights and interests of children.
 
Lu Guangjin, secretary-general of the China Society for Human Rights Studies (CSHRS), heading a 12-person Chinese delegate group, said at the forum that this was the first forum on human rights between China and Europe, so it marked an important step forward for the two sides.
 
"Previously, China and Europe have engaged in various exchange and cooperation throughout extensive fields, but not much in the field of human rights, which is precisely the purpose of our seminar today," explained Lu, going on to say, "human rights experts and scholars from China and Europe will have discussions and exchange views on the issue of the protection of children's rights, reflecting the common obligation and common responsibility of either side to respect and protect human rights. This marks the in-depth exchange and cooperation that China and Europe have taken in the field of human rights."
 
As China has about 280 million children, the country has made progress in promoting and protecting children's rights over the years, such as including child development into the overall plan for China’s national economic and social development. As an integral part of this development, China created a comprehensive plan for children’s rights, and issued a national planning Outline for Child Development (2011–2020).
 
"This sticks to the principle of giving priority to children and maximizing the interests of children, putting forward 52 main goals and 67 strategies and measures required by children's development by 2020 in terms of five major fields, namely children's health, education, welfare, social environment, and legal protection," said Lu.
 
He explained that China has done a lot in improving and protecting the rights and interests of children, revising laws such as the Law on the Protection of Minors and the Law on the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency, strictly cracking down on crimes of sexual abuse and improving the juvenile judicial process. China has focused on improving children's medical health and health care conditions by implementing a series of major public health service programs, striving to prevent birth defects, and lower children's deformity rate and death rate. Both the death and underweight rate of children under five years old have already realized the UN Millennium Development Goals.
 
However, the secretary-general said the protection of children's rights is still facing new challenges in the world. "The humanitarian disasters caused by terrorism is a serious violation of children's rights," he said, "there are still 17,000 children under the age of five who die of pneumonia, malaria, measles, malnutrition, and other diseases which could be prevented every day; there are many children who still aren’t able to study at school; and millions of children are lacking protection and are still subject to violence, abuse, exploitation, discrimination, and negligence."
 
Lu called on China and Europe to discuss the rights of children in a candid manner on the basis of mutual respect, interpretation and understanding, so as to work together to cope with the challenges facing the protection of children's rights.
 
Guido Raimondi, president of the European Court of Human Rights, called the forum a milestone for the cooperation between the Court and Chinese institutions.
 
"Children are the future of nations and societies. If there's no hope for children, there will be no future for the world. The European Court of Human Rights has paid great attention to children's rights and their best interests, and we also have obligations to pass on the human rights concept to the children," he said, "this forum indicated you are also paying great attention to human rights and children's interests, and such exchanges can promote mutual understanding and promote better implementation of human rights in different countries."
 
Chinese and European scholars and judges later exchanged views and shared respective statistics from both sides on various issues ranging from illegal use of child labor, child pornography and prostitution, juvenile crimes and court, to education for children.
 
The European Court of Human Rights, the University of Strasbourg and the China Society for Human Rights Studies and the International Institute of Human Rights jointly held the forum. The next edition of the forum is expected to be held in Beijing next year.

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