Kapitel 8: Maßnahmen
8. Measures

8.b Childrens rights policies

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8.c Data

Comprehensive national strategy

The German federal government has only catered to the recommendations from the UN Committees Concluding Observations on the comprehensive children’s rights strategy in Germany to a limited extent since 2014, and further measures to formulate a comprehensive children’s rights policy have not progressed significantly. Comprehensively implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as a policy requires both a vertical and horizontal perspective. Vertical means the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is implemented legally and effectively at a federal, state and municipal level. It is so far not clear whether and how municipalities, states and federal government plan to work together to take the UN Convention into account in political processes and decisions. Horizontal means that children’s rights not only play a role in terms of children, adolescents and families, but are also incorporated into all fields of policy.

The Concluding Observations from 2014 mention four central, institutional components for comprehensively implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in Germany. These are aimed at independent monitoring, data collection and analysis, complaints management, and internal coordination within the government. At least one component was addressed with the establishment of an independent monitoring institution at the German Institute for Human Rights in 2015. With regards to other requirements, such as data collection and analysis, initial efforts have been identified, but there continues to be a lack of reliable data examining the actual living conditions of children and adolescents in terms of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. When collecting the data, the provisions of Article 2 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child must particularly be clarified across the board, and their consequences tackled. There continues to be a lack of municipal, state and federal ombudsman services established for the long term where children and adolescents can demand their rights, as well as a lack of internal coordination within the government to comprehensively implement the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child at the various levels.

Since 2011, efforts have been made in Germany to reinforce an independent youth policy (Eigenständige Jugendpolitik) as a form of comprehensive policy for young people. The youth policy identifies an approach that places the interests and needs of young people aged between 12 and 27 at the centre of interdisciplinary political action. More specifically, a 2015-2018 youth strategy has been developed by the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) in recent years, entitled ‘Taking action for a youth-friendly society’ (‘Handeln für eine jugendgerechte Gesellschaft’), which, among other things, seeks to highlight youth-policy approaches in various areas and regional levels, exemplarily increase participation opportunities, and create regulatory impact assessment for young people in the form of a ‘Youth Check’. The National Action Plan ‘for a child-friendly Germany 2005-2010’ was discontinued.

  • The National Coalition Germany recommends that the UN Committee call on the German federal government to
  • 2. Develop and indefinitely extend programmes and projects to enable a comprehensive policy to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child at a vertical and horizontal level, and to provide adequate financial and human resources for this;
  • 3. Ensure the Youth Check competence centre can operate permanently;
  • 4. Develop a suitable instrument for assessing the impacts of laws for children and youths.

Coordination

The German federal government has not complied with the UN Committee’s recommendation 14 from 2014 ‘to establish an appropriate, permanent national office’. Some states have municipal or state coordination centres that deal with sub-aspects of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The following German states have coordination centres for youth and adolescent participation: Baden-Württemberg, Berlin, Brandenburg, North-Rhine Westphalia, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. Their task is primarily to advise and connect municipal institutions regarding child and adolescent participation.

At a municipal level, there are many different approaches to co-ordinating implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Naming, sponsorship, mandate and resources vary greatly. There is no structural link to the federal and state level. Each municipality thus makes its own decisions as to how children’s and adolescents’ rights, as defined by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, are protected, how the participation of children and adolescents is ensured, and how child-friendly urban and regional development is promoted. In general, the municipalities primarily act in accordance with the German Child and Youth Services Act (Kinder- und Jugendhilfegesetz), without placing their main focus on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

  • The National Coalition Germany recommends that the UN Committee call on the German federal government to
  • 5. Set up and structurally consolidate a central coordination office at a federal level as per the UN Committee’s recommendation 14 from 2014 in order to achieve vertical and horizontal implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child at all levels;
  • 6. Grant the coordination centre appropriate powers and funding;
  • 7. Create conditions – through dialogue with the states and municipalities – to ensure similarly equipped and mandated coordination centres can be created at a state and municipal level.
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8.c Data
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