[Human Rights] HRC / 22nd Session; Interactive Dialogue with the SRSG on Violence against Children and the SR on Sale of Children
Austria would like to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Violence against Children, Marta Santos Pais, for her informative report. We commend her for her tireless work as an advocate for children and for her assistance to states in progressively implementing the recommendations of the 2006 UN Study on Violence against Children, which remains the benchmark in fighting violence against children.
Austria has anchored a complete prohibition of violence against children in its constitution. Corporal punishment, sexual or other abuse but also psychological violence against children are explicitly forbidden. Regrettably, sometimes deeply rooted societal attitudes lag behind legal reform, on the other hand , however, sometimes public opinion and practice are also more advanced than the law. We would like to ask the SRSG how legal reform can be used most effectively in changing attitudes and if she can share some best practices in this regard?
Austria welcomes the SRSG’s focus on violence against children in the juvenile justice system and continues to support increased focus on safeguarding that no child in custody is exposed to violence. We will, together with a cross-regional coalition present a draft project to the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice aiming at initiating the elaboration of intergovernmentally agreed model strategies on how to prevent and address violence against children in the justice system. What should be, in the opinion of the SRSG, the focus of such strategies, what practical measures should be envisaged?
Austria thanks the SR for undertaking her global survey and notes that more than 100 governments have taken part in responding to it. She points out at emerging challenges for the protection of children from violence, among which she mentions organized crime and armed violence. How does she aim to address these challenges in the discharge of her mandate?
Austria would also like to that the Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children for her comprehensive report with a focus on the phenomenon of commercial sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism. Austria has entered numerous bilateral and multilateral agreements on extradition and mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. We have also recently included grooming as an offense in our national criminal code. How has the fast development of new interactive media affected sex tourism patterns and what specific measures should states undertake to counter it effectively? How can states counter disturbing trends such as “self-produced child pornography” as mentioned in your report?
We would like to conclude in expressing our support for the efforts undertaken by both the SRSG and the SR in advocating for the universal ratification of the two optional protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. We wish them both success in the continuation of their respective mandates.
I thank you.