30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
30 years ago the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Slovenia has a well-developed system of child care and protection that is harmonised with international standards and guarantees a high level of rights and well-being for all children. International comparisons rank Slovenia highly in this field, and the country often appears at the very top of various scales, measurements and indicators:
- 4th place among countries with the lowest level of risk of child poverty and social exclusion (Eurostat report 2015)
- 6th place among 27 European countries in the Child Well-Being Index
- 9th place among the 41 most developed countries in the world in terms of justice for children (UNICEF report for 2016)
- 11th place among 181 countries in the Kids Rights Index
- 20th place among 197 countries in terms of children’s access to legal protection (Child Rights International Network report 2016).
In recent years the Government of the Republic of Slovenia has also adopted a range of decisions and implemented activities that are designed to improve the position and life of children, among them: Family Code, the fundamental principle of which is protection of the interests of the child; Human Rights Ombudsman Act, which guarantees every child the right to an advocate who can provide professional assistance; Resolution on Family Policy 2018–2028, which sets out priorities and measures for the exercise of children’s rights in key areas.
The area of protection and children’s quality of life requires constant improvement, since we are still seeing a large number of infringements of rights: poverty, unequal opportunities for education, abuses and violence, poor access to child psychiatric care, a dramatic dropout rate among Roma children in primary schools, and inadequate protection and provision for the children of migrants, particularly unaccompanied minors.
Additional efforts are also required in the provision and protection of the rights of children who are particularly vulnerable: children with special needs, the socially disadvantaged, members of minorities, children experiencing violence, the children of migrants, Roma and Sinti children, the children of refugees and children who are victims of human trafficking.
The situation of children also depends on the region they live in. The 2015 Regional Child Well-Being Index (which enables a comparison between regions with regard to ten key areas and 40 indicators, as well as a comparison of the well-being of girls and boys) shows that child well-being is highest in the Gorenjska, Central Slovenia and Posavje regions and lowest in the Coastal-Karst, Pomurje and Zasavje regions. The index serves as a basis for the planning of measures at the governmental and local levels that will be focused on reducing these differences.
Children are increasingly included in the decision-making process in areas that affect them. The discussion of important contents that will form part of the new Programme for Children 2020–2025 included children from all over Slovenia. The areas identified as most important were: equal opportunities for all children, a life without violence, a life without discrimination.
In ensuring the protection and safeguarding of the rights of children, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia works in partnership with non-governmental organisations, of which the following are particularly active: UNICEF Slovenia (children’s rights advocacy, UNICEF safe points, Child Friendly Cities initiative, Junior Ambassadors), Slovenian Association of Friends of Youth (TOM – Telefon za otroke in mladostnike® (telephone helpline for children and teenagers), Otroški parlamenti® (Children’s Parliaments), the ZIPOM centre, Teden otroka® (Week of the Child)) and the PIC Legal Information Centre (legal protection for children, particularly vulnerable groups, identifying systemic legal solutions for children).