Convention on Child Protection
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has adopted the Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, which represents a major advance in this field.
"There should be no hesitation or complacency in the fight against sexual exploitation and abuse of children," said Council of Europe Secretary General Terry Davis when he welcomed the adoption of the Convention.
"This Convention is a true added value for member states to reinforce their action to prevent and combat this intolerable violation of children's most fundamental rights", continued the Deputy Secretary General of the Organisation, Maud de Boer-Buquicchio.
This new Convention is the first instrument to establish the various forms of sexual abuse of children as criminal offences, including such abuse committed in the home or family, with the use of force, coercion or threats.
In addition to the offences traditionally committed in this field -- sexual abuse, child prostitution, child pornography, children's forced participation in pornographic performances -- the text also addresses the issue of "grooming" of children for sexual purposes and "sex tourism".
The Convention will be opened for signature at the Conference of European Ministers of Justice in Lanzarote on 25 and 26 October this year.
Its adoption is to be seen also in the context of the three-year Programme run for a year by the Council of Europe "Building a Europe for and with children".