For the first time, victims of child abuse from across Europe have joined together to launch a campaign for comprehensive processing and reparations. The goal is to break the silence and bring justice to the victims. For this purpose, a motion has been submitted to the Council of Europe. The political initiative is to be lobbied throughout Europe.

The values on which Europe is founded are respect for human dignity, freedom and equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights. These core values of Europe have not applied to hundreds of thousands of children and young people in Europe, and their rights and human dignity have been severely violated in the past. These violations have taken place in various ways, especially in the form of child sexual abuse, through maltreatment especially in institutions, and through forced adoptions.

« Justice Initiative » – Justice for the victims at the center

To this day, tens of thousands of victims suffer from the injustice and consequences of the abuse that was done to them. Many are psychologically burdened and live in poverty due to the experience of violence. In a few countries in Europe, efforts have been made to redress the suffering. In most countries, a serious confrontation with the abuse has not taken place to this day. Against this background, groups of victims, academics, and NGOs from all over Europe joined forces to draft a common political initiative for the Council of Europe. With the help of politics, a motion has been submitted to the Council of Europe. The originator of this initiative is the Swiss philanthropist Guido Fluri. His foundation launched a popular initiative in Switzerland in 2016 and succeeded. More than 10,000 Swiss victims have received reparations since then. Guido Fluri: « When victim groups from all over Europe approached our foundation with the aim of networking and starting a European initiative, as in Switzerland, we realized we had to support this project. The victims should receive justice during their lifetime. »

Motion: Truth About Child Abuses, Official Recognition, Reparation, Prevention

The motion, which was presented to the broader public for the first time today, makes clear demands: The Council of Europe and the member states shall ensure an independent scientific investigation of the violation of children’s rights in the individual countries. The Council of Europe and the member states shall provide for the official recognition of children who suffered from any kind of sexual, physical and psychological violence (including the adverse impact of discrimination), especially regarding children in private and public or church institutions and those externally placed, forcibly adopted or separated from their mothers. The Council of Europe and the member states shall ensure that victims receive a form of reparation and ensure that the current legislations in the member states focus on protecting all children from abuse and maltreatment. The « Justice Initiative » now wants to bring the motion to a political majority and improve victim protection in the individual countries.

Motion submitted by the President of the Swiss delegation to the Council of Europe
«This initiative is central for Europe, » says the President of the Swiss delegation to the Council of Europe, National Councillor Pierre-Alain Fridez. «Only by coming to terms with the past can we build the future.»  For this reason, he has submitted the motion in Strasbourg. The politician is convinced that the motion will find an overwhelming majority.

Support by the Council of Europe

In the member countries of the Council of Europe, children must be able to benefit from all the human rights and fundamental freedoms protected by the European Convention on Human Rights, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and other international and European instruments on human-civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights. Luisella Pavan-Woolfe, Director Italian Office of the Council of Europe in Venice: « For that reason, the organization can only congratulate the Guido Fluri Foundation for what it has done through the «Justice Initiative» project, which embodies the values defended and promoted by the Council of Europe. Children’s rights are fundamental and inalienable human rights. Guaranteeing them is an essential duty of states and of every individual. »