Building a Europe for and with children

The Council of Europe and the Rights of the Child

Strategy 2012-2015

The Council of Europe adopted on 15 February 2012 a new strategy to protect and promote children’s rights. The strategy is a response to the needs expressed by governments, professionals working with children, civil society and children themselves who ask for more efforts to be made in implementing existing standards. In order to achieve this, the Council of Europe will provide guidance and support to its 47 member states on how best to bridge gaps between the rights and the reality of children in Europe.


The strategy focuses on four main objectives:

    • promoting child-friendly services and systems (in the areas of justice, health and social services);
    • eliminating all forms of violence against children (including sexual violence, trafficking, corporal punishment and violence in schools);
    • guaranteeing the rights of children in vulnerable situations (such as those with disabilities, in detention, in alternative care, migrant or Roma children);
    • promoting child participation.

"Keep me safe" video

Live coverage

On the occasion of Universal Children’s Day on 20 November 2012, the Council of Europe has launched a television and web documentary “Keep me safe”. This documentary illustrates good practices taking place in different member states through prevention, education and protection of victims, and through promoting child-friendly justice.

About the strategy 2012-2015

Former Deputy Secretary General Maud de Boer-Buquicchio explains the Strategy on the Rights of the Child 2012-2015.

The One in Five campaign

Former Deputy Secretary General Maud de Boer-Buquicchio presents the Council of Europe Campaign to stop sexual violence against children.

The Lanzarote Convention

The Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse was adopted in 2007 and opened for signature on the occasion of the 28th Conference of European Ministers of Justice in Lanzarote, Spain. Following its fifth ratification, the Convention entered into force on 1 July 2010.

The Convention is the first international treaty to address all forms of sexual violence against children including child prostitution, pedopornography, grooming and corruption of children through exposure to sexual content and activities. Its trademark is the modern “4 Ps” approach:

  • Prevent and combat sexual exploitation and abuse of children,
  • Protect the rights of child victims,
  • Prosecute the perpetrators,
  • Promote appropriate policies and national and international co-operation against this phenomenon.

Did you know that...

  • International Children's Rights Day is celebrated on 20 November
  • Sweden was the first country in the world to abolish corporal punishment in 1979.


The European Court of Human Rights delivered a series of judgments on children's rights according to the European Convention on Human Rights:

Human Rights Commissioner

The Commissioner for Human Rights pays particular attention to the respect for and the protection of the rights of children.

He regularly visits prisons or care institutions where children are placed and provides recommendations to national authorities on how they could improve their records on children’s rights.