The submission of a motion to the Council of Europe was one of the first milestones for the «Justice Initiative». The political initiative is to be lobbied throughout Europe. The campaign is launched this summer with the exhibition « SHAME – EUROPEAN STORIES » during the Biennale in Venice. Victims from all over Europe were present at the opening on the 21st of May. The exhibition is supported by the Italian Office of the Council of Europe.

Venice, 21 May 2022 To this day, tens of thousands of victims suffer from the injustice and consequences of the abuse that was done to them in their childhood. 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. »

Start of the Campaign: «Shame – European Stories»

A traveling exhibition, which will accompany the campaign in the individual countries, will be on display in major European cities in the coming months. From Italy to Sweden, from Romania to

Portugal: Portraits of nearly 100 victims of child abuse have been collected throughout Europe. Never has the dimension of the problem been captured in this way. Photos and videos from award-winning journalist Simone Padovani documenting the injustices now give the victims a voice. Simone Padovani : «Those affected come from the most diverse countries in Europe. Their life stories are different, and yet we recognize parallels. It is not only about the abuse of the past. It is also about life afterward. » The exhibition «Shame – European Stories» was open during the Biennale of Venice at Emergency ONG Onlus. Mara Rumiz, Venice Office Projects Coordinator: « On the subject of human rights: the first right, perhaps the most important, concerns children and young people, who must be able to live their childhood and adolescence serenely, without trauma, without abuse, without violence. When Simone Padovani told us about the Guido Fluri Foundation’s exhibition project «Shame – European Stories», we immediately assured him of our collaboration, convinced that there are too many cases in which children are victims of unprecedented violence. »

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. »