Mr Palm's remarks during the hearing session of the Parliamentary Committees on Legal and Social Affairs on a project resolution regarding the Protection of the Rights of the Child in Albania held on 13 November 2013
Albania has ratified and is a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most ratified international treaty. Through ratification, member states – also Albania - confirm that the provisions of the Convention supersede domestic law.
Why do we care for children? Of course they need help and we love them. More importantly, the way we treat children determines what type of an adult they will be. It is determined during the childhood, whether a person will succeed in life or not, will find a job and keep it, and becomes a productive person or someone who needs help to survive.
As parents we make a lot of sacrifice to ensure good education, health and protection for our own children. What is good for our own children, is good for all children. When parents are poor or fail, the State has an obligation to ensure the child has all the opportunities. That’s what the CRC says.
Being a party to the Convention requires periodic reporting to the UN Committee on Children’s Rights. This is an expert committee of the member states. The Committee makes observations and recommendations. Such recommendations and progress or the lack of it also influence the EU progress reports.
The concluding observations are your agenda for children. Recommendations were last were made in October 2012. Not much happened since. We have provided a version in Albania, too.
Some specific issues:
1. The concluding observations of the Committee must be widely disseminated in government and the public, because many actors are involved. People and officials can only act if they know what is expected of them.
2. The Committee said that Albania has not done much to address previous recommendations. They had to repeat them, but the tone changes.
3. An important observation is that the Albania law on the protection on the rights of the child must supersede other legislation, or the children’s law must prevail if there is conflict. Without this, there always will be excuses why something couldn’t be done.
4. Data on the situation of children are not yet systematic collected and analyzed. Without this, there is no evidence for the changes that need to happen.
5. The status of children between the age of 14 and 18 is not clear especially in the criminal code. Article 100 and 101 of the Criminal Code need to be amended to ensure full protection of children.
6. The best interests of the child must be considered by judges and others in judicial proceedings. Investigation and court procedures are far too long for juveniles. A time limit has to be set.
7. Not enough is done to ensure all children are registered at birth.
8. Implementation of laws prohibiting corporal punishment.
The members of the Albanian delegation reporting to the Committee must be well-informed. In the past it happened that the officials could not answer questions.