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01/12/2022

Perspectivas / Perspectives

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Derechos / H. Rights

NOVEMBER 18 – European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse

Council of Europe logo Strasbourg, Nov.5.– This year’s theme of the European Day is “Getting it right: ensuring child-friendly justice through Barnahus structures in Europe”. The European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse was established by the Council of Europe in 2015.

On 16 November, a high-level event will be organised by the Council of Europe and the Council of the Baltic Sea States, under the Icelandic Presidency of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers (Palais de l’Europe, room 1). Welcoming remarks by Minister of Education and Children of Iceland on behalf of the Presidency Ásmundur Einar Daðason, Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić, and Director General of the Council of the Baltic Sea States Secretariat Grzegorz Posnanski (video message) as well as the keynote speech delivered by Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Violence against Children Najat Maalla M'jid (video message) will be open to media (from 2 to 2.30 pm).

At its plenary meeting on 15-17 November, the Steering Committee for the Rights of the Child will launch a child-friendly version of the Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child (2022-2027). Protecting children from violence, including sexual abuse, is one of the objectives of the Strategy. The Committee will also consider for approval the draft recommendation containing Guidelines on strengthening reporting systems on violence against children.

On 17 November, the Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) will launch a new short film on the topic of sexual abuse of children in sport “The Playing Field”. The film has been conceived and directed by award-winning French film-maker Roland Edzard; it is a follow-up to his successful 2013 film “The Lake”, which focused on sexual abuse within the circle of trust. The new film will be available sub-titled in several languages.

Contact: Tatiana Baeva, tel. +33 3 88 41 21 41

The European Court of Human Rights rules about the Russian Agents Act 2012

It finds the law undemocratic in violation of Articles 10 (freedom of expression) & 11 (freedom of assembly & association) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Russian Federation denounced and ceased to be a party to the European Convention on Human Rights on 16 September 2022. However, it is still bound to the ECHR ruling considering that the judgment on 14 June 2022 precedes Russia's withdrawal from the Convention.

Here are some pertinent segments of the case:

ECHRThe applicants are 73 Russian non-Governmental organisations (NGOs) and, in some cases, their directors, in a total of 61 applications (the details are set out in the judgment). They are involved in the areas of civil-society issues, human rights, protection of the environment and cultural heritage, education, social security, and migration. They include some of the oldest and most established Russian organisations such as the Memorial Human Rights Centre, the Moscow Helsinki Group, LGBT organisation Coming Out, the Agora Association and the Committee against Torture.

In 2012 the new Foreign Agents Act came into force. Until that time the applicant organisations had been under the same legal regime as other NGOs; following that they had to register as “foreign agents” owing to their alleged “political activity” and receipt of “foreign funding”; they also, among other things, had to visibly label this status in their publications and had more strenuous audit requirements. The law contained both administrative and criminal sanctions for non-compliance.

All the applicant organisations challenged the decisions to register them as “foreign agents” before the prosecutorial service and before the courts, with no success. Many fines have been issued as a result of the law; some of the applicants have been forced into voluntary liquidation because of the fines; in other cases liquidation of the organisation was ordered by the authorities.

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La democracia auténtica es el culto al respeto de la dignidad humana,la libertad, la justicia y la paz