Children of Austria
Realizing Children’s Rights in Austria
In Austria children enjoy a favorable situation because of the implementation of their rights. However, certain sectors still require improvement such as: the reception of child refugees, child abuse, assistance of children coming from poor families, juvenile justice, etc.
Realization of Children’s Rights Index : 9,22 / 10
Population: 8,2 million
Life expectancy: 81,1 years
Main problems faced by children in Austria:
In Austria, around one in ten children come from a poor background and the most affected are the ones who are coming from monoparental, or large families.
According to certain NGOs active in this field, the solution for this problem would be an increase in the state budget for welfare benefits. The State should also create support structures which would facilitate a better integration of children coming from under privileged families.
Each year, thousands of children from the East fall victim to unscrupulous child traffickers. They _ sell the child victims to the highest bidder. Austria, situated right in the centre of Europe, is known for being a famous transit country and is therefore a target destination for human trafficking. For this reason the government of Austria has recently initiated_an agreement with its neighboring countries in order to coordinate their efforts to combat the hideous crime of human trafficking.
The government measures that have been taken for the control and the prevention of sexual exploitation of children should be indeed highlighted. As matter of fact, a flourishing child pornography market exists in Austria. In the year 2004, the Austrian government ratified the optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography and modified its penal code in order to severely punish those who commit the offences brought forward by the protocol. Today Austria needs practical measures that could effectively enforce the protocol.
Certain reports show that, in Austria, even to this day, education is often connected to violence and this tendency being common among the immigrant families: 25% of the children who were questioned had stated that they have been beaten by their parents .
Austria has modified its penal code in order to severely punish those who subject children to violence, however there is much progress to be accomplished when it comes to the prevention of abuse, the protection of children and the reinsertion of the young victim.
Austria hosts a considerable amount of child refugees and most often they are children orphaned by war. These children face a lot of difficulties in seeking an asylum: problems arising due to language barriers, the complicated seearch for an asylum and the unpredictable delays are some of the many difficulties they come across… There is a dire lack of infrastructure as well as a lack of qualified personnel to take over the tasks of welcoming these child refugees and providing them appropriate support.
The NGOs active in this field specially criticize the act of keeping entire families in custody during the process after which they would be sent back to their respective countries.
A couple of years back, a national Task Force was_created specially, in order to solve the problems connected to child refugees.
In the year 2005, the Child Rights Committee declared their concern for the great number of imprisoned children in Austria and the committee was particularly shocked by the number of foreign children among them. The other worrying factor was that the children under custody were not separated from_adult criminals. The committee recalled that the imprisonment of young delinquents should remain an exception and should not to be applied except in gravest cases of extreme culpability.
The adaptation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the national level
Since the last few years, the Austrian NGOs demand an amendment of the national Constitution which would include all the key principles highlighted by the Convention. The main intention of this demand is to improve the protection of children. In fact, only a scattered number of standards regarding child rights are to be found within the framework of Austrian law. According to the NGOs, this flaw in the adaptation of the Convention is followed by contrary results which obviously violate the Convention; especially when it comes to the context of child refugees.
On 20th January 2011, the Government voted in favour of the adoption of a national law on child rights. Today, organisations concerned seem to have a lot of hope in this newly intiated project.
With 8.6 metric tons of CO2 emissions per capita per year, Austria is one of the worst countries where pollution reigns. This has adverse effects on the lives of children and their future prospects. Each child has the right to live in a healthy atmosphere; therefore Austria needs to pay special attention to this issue so that it can minimize its carbon footprint.