"Netherlands must better observe children's rights"
The Dutch branches of Unicef and Defence for Children International criticise Dutch observance of UN treaty.21 January 2008
THE HAGUE – The Netherlands is still not observing children's rights adequately. Illegal immigrant children are excluded from all sorts of facilities, not enough is being done to tackle child abuse, and waiting lists for youth care are still too long. It is high time that the Netherlands appoint an ombudsman for children.
The Dutch branches of Unicef and Defence for Children International have written this in their first Annual report on Children's Rights that they presented to Youth and Family Affairs Minister André Rouvoet on Monday.
A panel of five experts gave report marks for how the Netherlands handles child abuse, youth care, juvenile criminal law, illegal migrant children and youth healthcare. The experts gave the Netherlands a failing mark in three categories.
This is partly due to the fact that too many illegal migrant children continue to be locked up and families are put out on the street. In the category of youth healthcare the annual report is critical of female circumcision and the shortage of child psychiatrists.
The organisations also noticed a hardening in the approach to youth crime, resulting in more young people behind bars.
The Netherlands is failing on all these points to comply with the rights set down in the children's rights treaty that the UN adopted in 1989. In 2002 the Children's Rights Collective, in which the Dutch branches of Unicef and Defence for Children also participate, also criticised the Netherlands for not adequately complying with the treaty.
The panel that awarded marks included former commissioner for youth policy Steven van Eijck, senator and former juvenile court judge Ineke Quick-Schuit, and a policy worker from the National Youth Council.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2008]
Subject: Dutch news