Scotland hosts major conference to discuss child poverty issues in EU

Scotland hosts major conference to discuss child poverty issues in EU

Edinburgh hosted a two-day conference for children’s ombudspeople to attend and discuss the impact of austerity and poverty on children’s lives across Europe. The conference brings together key experts from more than 40 countries to share strategies and best practice to reduce and eventually eradicate child poverty.

Outgoing chair of the Children’s Rights International Network and Belgian Children’s Ombudsman, Bernard De Vos, said: “The continuing economic crisis is worsening the impact of poverty on growing numbers of children and families who are already struggling to cope day to day. Too many children and young people are not enjoying even their basic rights as set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and if we’re not more vigilant, the economic crisis may herald the end of the Convention.”

Chair-elect of ENOC (European Network of Ombudsperons for Children) and Scotland’s commissioner for children and young people Tam Bailie expressed concern over cuts in public expenditure and its effect on the lives of children, as one in five children in Scotland are currently living below the poverty line.

“I urge the Scottish and UK Governments to consider the best interests of children and young people first, before making cuts to public services that may directly affect their education, health and wellbeing,” said Bailie.

36 young people from eight member states collaborated to create films documenting the impact poverty has on their lives and rights. The films will be shown in an audio-visual exhibition at Dynamic Earth science centre alongside the conference.

Jade Bourne (19) from East Renfrewshire who took part in creating one of the films said: “In the world we live in today we are so technologically advanced and so well connected yet some people are still forgotten about and left behind. Opportunities for young people are being taken away and cut when every young person should be given the chance to reach their full potential no matter what country, religion or background they come from.”