International high-level meeting in the Riksdag on displaced children
On 24 April, a high-level meeting on displaced children was held in the Riksdag. It was organised by the Ombudsman for Children in Sweden, the Children’s Welfare Foundation Sweden and the Riksdag. Sweden’s Minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality Åsa Regnér was one of the keynote speakers at the meeting, which was attended by children’s representatives from a number of European countries and child rights experts from across Europe, as well as representatives of Swedish government agencies and civil society organisations working with child rights.
The aim of the meeting, which was a follow-up of a prior initiative on the same theme by the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children, was to exchange experiences and bring a child rights perspective to the ongoing discussions on a new Common European Asylum System.
"Displaced children seeking asylum in Sweden must have their rights guaranteed and receive protection and support. Girls and boys must receive the proper support, based on their different experiences and needs. Making the Convention on the Rights of the Child part of Swedish law, a process which is currently under way, is an important step for the Government, which has also reinforced social care for children and young people with more than SEK 1 billion during the period 2016–2019," says Ms Regnér.
Other keynote speakers included Tomas Bocek, the Council of Europe's Special Representative on Migration and Refugees, and Ambassador Nicola Clase, the Swedish Government's Coordinator for Migration and Refugee Issues.
During the meeting, a panel discussion was held on child rights challenges in migration in Europe. Participants in this discussion included Fredrik Malmberg, Ombudsman for Children in Sweden, Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, Swedish Member of the European Parliament, George Moschos, Ombudsman for Children in Greece, Geneviève Avenard, Children's Ombudsman in France, Per-Anders Sunesson, Sweden's Ambassador to Combat Human Trafficking, and Livia Stoica, Children's Rights Division, Council of Europe.
A panel discussion was also held on the child rights challenges in the new Common European Asylum System. Pernilla Baralt, State Secretary to Ms Regnér, was one of the participants.