Why child rights should be included in Germany’s constitution

EPA/CLEMENS BILAN

A poor man is waiting in a row for the soup kitchen to open at a Franciscan Order in Berlin, Germany, 11 April 2017.

Why child rights should be included in Germany’s constitution


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Ahead of the September 24 parliamentary election in Germany, human rights groups are calling on the next government to incorporate the rights of children and teens into the country’s constitution.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) in Germany used Children’s Day on September 20 to pressure the next ruling coalition to anchor children’s rights in the country’s Basic Law, or Grundgesetz.

“Parliaments, administrations or courts must take greater account of what their decisions mean for the youngest [citizens],” Unicef’s chairman in Germany, Jürgen Heraeus, told the Passauer Neuen Presse.

As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, Heraeus warned that although most of the parties have touted their commitment to protecting children during the campaign, the real test was whether they would follow through.

“After election day, the interests of children will soon be treated as low priority again,” he said, warning that child poverty is on the rise – mainly due to the arrival of around 300,000 refugee children whose parents need time to settle.

Heraeus also said that in some cities, such as Berlin, up to 35% of children live in households that rely on unemployment benefits. “These children need to have a fair chance and be made to feel that they are needed,” he said.

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