Advocacy

To ensure children's rights respect and mainstreaming, the International Juvenile Justice Observatory makes sure that the policy and knowledgeable inputs developed by the ECJJ are presented before the appropriate stakeholders.

These included institutions of the European Union such as:

  • The Council of the European Union is the Institution where the Member States’ government representatives sit. It adopts acts, which are directly relevant to the lives of EU citizens and have a considerable international impact; it usually adopts acts in conjunction with the European Parliament. The composition and frequency of Council meetings vary depending on the issue dealt with. Among these configurations, the European Juvenile Justice Observatory pays close attention to the work undertaken by the Justice and Home Affairs Council (JHA) but also has an interest in the work of the General Affairs Council, the Foreign Affairs Council, the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumers Affairs Council or the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council.
  • The European Commission represents the common European interests to all the EU countries. As defender of the general interest and “guardian of the treaties”, the European Commission benefits from the right of initiative in the lawmaking process. One might say that the Commission operates as a cabinet government for the European Union, with 27 Commissioners (one per country), who are bound to represent the interests of the EU rather than their home state. The Commission is divided into some 40 directorates-general (DGs) and services, which are subdivided into directorates, and directorates into units. Among these DGs, the European Juvenile Justice Observatory pays close attention to the work undertaken by the DG Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship but also follows the initiatives undertaken by the DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion or the DG Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth. The Commission also administers a number of executive agencies such as the Education, Audiovisual, and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA).
  • The European Parliament (EP) is the only directly-elected institution of the European Union. It acts as a co-legislator for nearly all EU law. Together with the Council, the Parliament amends or adopts proposals from the Commission. The Parliament also supervises the work of the Commission and adopts the European Union’s budget. With 754 members, the European Parliament represents the EU’s 500 million citizens, which makes it one of the largest democratic assemblies in the world. In order to do the preparatory work for Parliament’s plenary sittings, the EP Members are divided up among a number of specialized standing committees. The European Juvenile Justice Observatory is especially interested in the work undertaken within the Human Rights Standing Committee (DROI), the Legal Affairs Standing Committee (JURI), the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Standing Committee (LIBE) but also pays attention to the Employment and Social Affairs Standing Committee (EMPL), Culture and Education Standing Committee (CULT), and Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Standing Committee (FEMM). Overall, there are 20 parliamentary Committees.
  • The European Economic and Social Committee (EEAS) is a consultative body of the European Union composed of representatives of employers’ organizations, of employees’ organizations that is to say trade unions, and of representatives of various other interests. The EESC represents the interests of civil society organisations and is consulted by the other institutions whenever these deem it appropriate. To draft initiatives and answer to other institutions’ consultation, the EESC is divided into Sections; the European Juvenile Justice Observatory pays close attention to the work undertaken within the Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenships Section (SOC) and the External Relations Section (REX).
  • The Committee of the Regions is an assembly of regional and local representatives, hence providing institutional representation within the European Union for all the territorial areas, regions, cities and municipalities. Composed of 344 members elected regionally or locally to represent the interests of territories spread throughout the 27 EU Member States, the Committee of the Regions aims at involving regional and local authorities in the European decision-making process and thus aims at encouraging greater participation from EU citizens.  Six distinctive Commissions are responsible to support the preparation of opinions based on the proposals of the European Commission. The European Juvenile Justice Observatory pays close attention to the initiatives undertaken by the Citizenship, Governance, Institutional Affairs and External Relations Commission (CIVEX), the Economic and Social Policy Commission (ECOS) and the Education, Culture, Youth and Research Commission (EDUC).
  • The Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) is an advisory body of the European Union. Unlike the precedents entities, its premises are not based in Brussels, Belgium, but in Vienna, Austria. The FRA helps to ensure that fundamental rights of people living in the EU are protected. It does this by collecting evidence about the situation of fundamental rights across the European Union and providing advice, based on evidence, about how to improve the situation. The FRA also informs people about their fundamental rights. In doing so, it helps to make fundamental rights a reality for everyone in the European Union. According to the Council, the FRA has competency within a certain number of areas, among which some are of great interest for the European Juvenile Justice Observatory. The latter are the following:  initiatives dealing with the rights of the child, including the protection of children; asylum, immigration and integration of migrants; participation of the EU citizens in the Union’s democratic functioning; and access to efficient and independent justice.
  • The European External Action Service (EEAS) is the entity assisting the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. One might say that is serves as a foreign ministry and diplomatic corps for the European Union. The EEAS is unique and independent from other EU institutions. Formed by merger of the external relation departments of the Council and the European Commission, it sits outside other EU institutions. It also has its own independent budget. The European Union actively promotes the respect of Human Rights within its border but also when engaging relations with non-EU countries. Countries seeking to join the EU must respect human rights. And all trade and cooperation agreements with third countries contain a clause stipulating that human rights are an essential element in relations between the parties. To this extent, the work undertaken by the EEAS is of great interest for the European Juvenile Justice Observatory insofar as it has the ability to promote Human Rights, among which children’s rights, beyond the boundaries of the European Union.

Furthermore, the ECJJ's work is also championed before the Council of Europe, and more specifically before:

  • The Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) is the deliberative body and the driving force of the Council of Europe. Its members are appointed by the national parliaments of each member state and are organized into eight Assembly Committees and other ad hoc committees, whose reports and decisions are submitted to the plenary for adoption. Among the eight permanent committees, the European Juvenile Justice Observatory follows more precisely the work of the Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee, of the Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development, of the Equality and Non-Discrimination Committee, and of the Culture, Science, Education and Media Committee.  The Assembly as a whole has initiated many international treaties, helping to create a Europe-wide system of legislation, which takes into account children’s rights in general as well as the more specific rights of children in contact with the law.
  • The Commissioner for Human Rights is an independent body responsible for promoting education, awareness and respect for human rights in member states. Created in 1997, this position was held for the first time by Álvaro Gil-Robles until 2006. He was succeeded by Tomas Hammarberg, who held this position from 2006 to 2012. In April 2012, Nils Muižnieks became the new Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe.

The Commissioner is mandated to: foster the effective observance of human rights, and assist member states in the implementation of Council of Europe human rights standards; promote education in and awareness of human rights in Council of Europe member states; identify possible shortcomings in the law and practice concerning human rights; facilitate the activities of national ombudsperson institutions and other human rights structures; and provide advice and information regarding the protection of human rights across the region.

As an independent, impartial and non-judicial institution, the activities of the Commissioner focus on three major, closely-related areas: country visits and dialogue with national authorities and civil society; thematic reporting and advising on human rights systematic implementation; and awareness-raising activities.

Furthermore, the Commissioner for Human Rights is invited to strengthen his role and the capacity of his Office in order to provide strong and effective protection for human rights defenders by: continuing to act upon information received from human rights defenders and other relevant sources, including ombudsmen or national human rights institutions; continuing to meet with a broad range of defenders during his country visits and to report publicly on the situation of human rights defenders; intervening, in the manner the Commissioner deems appropriate, with the competent authorities, in order to assist them in looking for solutions, in accordance with their obligations, to the problems which human rights defenders may face, especially in serious situations where there is a need for urgent action; working in close co-operation with other intergovernmental organisations and institutions, in particular the OSCE/ODHIR focal point for human rights defenders, the European Union, the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative on Human Rights Defenders and other existing mechanisms.

The European Juvenile Justice Observatory pays close attention to the work of the CoE Commissioner for Human Rights insofar as he constitutes the EJJO’s main asset within the Council of Europe when it comes to the improvement of children’s rights, the development of juvenile justice and the respect of international and European standards guaranteeing the rights of those who are or may once fall in a situation of social exclusion.

For instance, on June 19th 2009, the Commissioner for Human Rights, then Tomas Hammarberg, issued a paper entitled “Children and juvenile justice: proposals for improvement”, which had positive repercussions and promoted the principles championed by institutions such as the European Juvenile Justice Observatory. By the same token, the Commissioner for Human Rights often addresses open letters to Departments or Ministries of Justice from one of the 47 Member States in order to point out one country’s most inspiring policies and practices as well as the enhancements that should be taken into consideration for further improvements of juvenile justice systems.

  • The Conference of INGOs includes some 400 international Non Governmental Organisations (INGOs). It provides vital links between politicians and the public and brings the voice of civil society to the Council. The Council’s work benefits extensively from the INGOs’ expertise and their outreach to European citizens.

The International Juvenile Justice Observatory is one of these INGOs and promotes the work undertaken at an international but also at a European level when taking part in this Conference held under the framework of the European Council.

Eventually, at a European level, the IJJO works in collaboration with other NGOs advocating for the respect and mainstreaming of children's rights, and therfore has the opportunity to present the work of the ECJJ before representatives of:

  • Save the Children
  • Eurochild
  • Terre des Hommes - International Federation
  • SOS Children's Village International
  • European Federation for Street Children
  • World Vision
  • PLAN
  • International Falcon Movement
  • PICUM (Platform for International Cooperation of Undocumented Migrants)
  • World Scout Bureau
  • WAGGS (World Association of Girls Guides and Girl Scouts)
  • Human Rights Watch
  • Eurochips
  • Alliance for Childhood