At the ceremony in Oslo in 2014 committed child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi from India, who together with Malala from Pakistan, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He freed thousands of children from forced labour. His key demand when asked how we could improve the world: “Begin with the children!” “Every child should be free to eat, sleep, play, learn, dream. We must overcome passivity. Let us also end all violence against children. Let us start a more child-friendly policy with global compassion”, he demanded in his Nobel Prize speech at Oslo City Hall.
Children and young people are our future. All politicians worldwide know and say this. Future policy must focus on them. They are the embodiment of our future in person. We must work on this important issue more actively than we have done so far. With a global plan for a better childhood and youth.
The promotion of children’s and young people’s rights must be given a much stronger political focus worldwide. Child labour and sexual exploitation must be terminated. Instead, children need more education and happiness while growing up.
Are we doing enough?
Are we protecting and promoting young people as best as possible? Are they our first priority?
Do we take their needs seriously?
Still a lot of catching up to do.
More child benefit is not enough.
In June 2020, the Minister of Justice of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany reported a shocking figure: No fewer than 30,000 suspects are under investigation for child pornography and abuse on the internet in this federal state alone. With a focus on normal and middle-class cities like Bergisch-Gladbach and Münster. Why didn’t anybody notice this earlier? The Federal Office of Criminal Investigation receives most indications of child abuse from the USA. In 2019, no less than 700,000 suspected cases with three million pictures and 100,000 videos of perpetrators and victims alone were reported in the EU. This resulted in 60,000 U.S. reports for Germany with 40,000 subsequent investigations. Worldwide there were 17 million suspected cases with 70 million images. Mostly distributed via Messenger from Facebook. For years the state did too little to protect children. A state failure of sleepy youth welfare offices, too few criminal investigation departments, idle prosecutors, too lenient judges, money- oriented internet services and credit card companies with too little control, and the responsible politicians without creativity and effectiveness. A scandal in a civilised world.
Often the high national debts are imposed on the next and the succeeding generation. Is that fair? Grandpa is incurring debts for his consumption for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren – an absurdity in every family.
Many young people cannot afford universities. But that is money well invested. Those who are well educated pay more taxes later and thus support the state.
The schools are often rotten. Too many pupils are stressed, unhappy and often learn the wrong things.
We must give young people a leading role in the readjust- ment of policy.
We must also strengthen their families as the nucleus of the community and more effectively support children who are educationally disadvantaged.
- A Minister for Children and Youth is the necessary advocate in the cabinet. In cooperation with the relevant associations, he or she draws up a “National Future Agenda For Children and Young People”. His Ministry presents an “Annual Report on Children and Young People” to parliament.
- An “Advisory Council for Children and Youth” promotion is established in each ministry and at the local level.
- We must not exclude a single young person with problems. Therefore, many new creative, encouraging programmes should be developed for them. The less gifted in particular need special support. No one must be forgotten. Children with learning disabilities and psychological problems need special support. This is more humane and also avoids high social expenditures later on. The development of self-esteem and children’s happiness is crucial.
- A broad Mentoring Programme in politics, business and culture supports several million young people`s training. Both the gifted and less talented need help in life.
- Every young person receives an interest-free state loan for his or her training, which he or she repays over a period of 20 years during his or her working life with a part of the tax-free gross wage. This also enables him or her to attend expensive elite universities such as Harvard, Stanford or Oxford. It is very well invested money, because better educated citizens pay more taxes later and create new jobs as entrepreneurs.
- International exchange programmes for 500,000 young people per year make should make it possible to get to know foreign cultures. They are massively expanded and subsidised. The European “Erasmus” programme serves as a model.
- Families could receive vouchers for sports and educational opportunities for their children in addition to child benefit. This is the responsibility of the special Minister for Families, who submits an annual family report to parliament (D 22.7.).
- Establishment of special investigative units with 100 criminologists against child abuse in each federal state and a large “National Centre for Child Protection”, modelled on the “National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children”, created by U.S. President Ronald Reagan as early as 1984. Creation of a national and international databases. Mandatory reporting by internet service providers and immediate removal of child pornography content with heavy fines of $ 100,000 per case. Increase the minimum sentence to three years without parole in new child protection legislation. Fines of $ 1 million per case for the major credit card companies. Employing intelligence services against international net- works with a special unit abroad.