Saturday, September 19, 2009

EU votes not to protect children

Young Europeans, and especially the Irish, are concerned that a resolution voted on Thursday September 17th by the European Parliament against a Lithuanian law which deals with family matters compromises principles of subsidiarity already enshrined in EU law and especially in the new protocol to the Lisbon Treaty. This resolution should keep the discussion interesting as the Irish people vote on the Lisbon Treaty for a second time on October 2nd. 

The World Youth Alliance participated in the European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg - France, this week and focused on a resolution against Lithuania’s new law on the dissemination of public information to minors. Lithuania’s current law prohibits the dissemination of information to minors that may be detrimental to their development, a law that is necessary to protect the rights of the child.
The law attempts to fulfill Lithuania’s obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a binding treaty to which Lithuania is a signatory. Indeed, Article 17 of the Convention states that State Parties are encouraged to develop "appropriate guidelines for the protection of the child from information and material injurious to his or her well-being." WYA representatives actively participated in discussions with Members of Parliament, emphasizing that the Lithuanian law did not violate international human rights or EU law, and reiterating the principle of subsidiarity, which protects the rights of nation states to legislate on family and cultural matters directly. The WYA played a key role in providing information to MEPs, even though the resolution was ultimately passed with 349 votes in favor and 218 opposed.

The European Parliament’s attempt to ignore the Convention on the Rights of the Child touched on issues of subsidiarity and the division of competencies between the EU and Member States. The recent addition of a protocol to the Lisbon Treaty, which stated that Ireland’s Constitution, containing a position on family matters and protection of life from conception, would not be threatened by any of the EU institutions’ decisions, should now be questioned for its effectiveness and integrity. 

World Youth
Alliance is a global coalition of young people committed to promoting the dignity of the person and building solidarity among youth from developed and developing nations. WYA train young people to work at regional and international levels to impact policy and culture. WYA represent 1million members through its 5 regional offices in Africa (Nairobi), Asia-Pacific (Manila), Europe (Brussels), Latin-America (Mexico) and North-America (New York). In Europe, WYA gather more than 3.000 individual members and 40 youth-organizations.

European Parliament resolution on the Lithuanian Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effects of Public Information  RC-B7-0026/2009
The names of the MEPs who voted for the monitoring of the Lithuanian law by the European Institutions can be found on the PV of the vote p. 18 to 21..

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