‘European Vulnerable Children’ Conference in Belgium

  November 21, 2010 at 10:55 am by

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On the initiative of Queen Paola, in her capacity as Honorary President of the NGO Child Focus, an organization dedicated to finding missing children, and under the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, took place on Wednesday 17 and Thursday, November 18, 2010 a conference in the Royal Palace in Brussels with the theme “Vulnerable children on the run, a challenge for Europe.”

The conference was sponsored by the Belgian Ministry of Justice and Missing Children Europe Foundation. Besides a number of 120 experts from across Europe, the Queen also has involved a number of High personalities, who has been working for years to protect children.

Were present at the conference: Queen Silvia of Sweden, Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg, Infanta Cristina of Spain, the Duchess of Gloucester, Princess Mathilde, Astrid and Claire of Belgium, Ms Vike-Freiberga (former president of Latvia), Mrs. Chirac, Ms. Barroso Mrs. Van Rompuy, Mrs. Tusk (wife of the Polish Prime Minister), Mr Barrot (former Vice-President of the European Commission) and Mr. Flick (former President of the Italian Constitutional Court).

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The Kings of Belgium played host to a gala dinner at the Royal Palace in Brussels, at the eve of the conference. Before dinner was offered a concert for the guests, attended by leading representatives of European royal houses and completed by major European figures. For over a decade, Belgium has been at the forefront of the fight against missing and sexually exploited children. Tremendous progress has been made in Belgium, Europe and even worldwide since the previous Belgian Presidency in 2001, including the creation of Child Focus (BE), Missing Children Europe (EU) and the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (worldwide).

Despite these developments, many challenges in addressing the cross border problems of missing and sexually exploited children remain. An ambitious European action plan in addressing challenges is needed, in particular regarding the often overlooked category of vulnerable children on the run. The aim of the conference will be to present a set of expert recommendations on the problem ofvulnerable children on the run, as a specific category within the broader context of disappearanceand sexual exploitation of children.

View the gallery at Belga Picture

The recommendations will be based on a currently ongoing European survey. Ultimately, the objective will be to develop a set of key recommendations / EU action plan, hopefully to be discussed and adopted at political level under the Hungarian Presidency (first semester of 2011).

The two days were devoted to the topic of runway children, for which a survey was distributed in advance to both non-governmental organisations and governments. The findings and conclusions of the workshops and symposia will be sent to the Council of the European Union in order to be valued.

Filed under Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain, Sweden, The United Kingdom
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