Over the past few years, child poverty and children’s vulnerability to poverty have increased in many countries and children’s wellbeing in general is being negatively affected. According to the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, this is a direct result of the economic and financial crisis. The crisis has had a severe impact on local and regional authorities as they have had to face substantial decreases in their budgets. Their ability to ensure the protection of human rights is being severely undermined by the crisis.
According to Johan van den Hout, however, before making cuts in child protection policies, local and regional authorities must consider the short, but particularly the long-term impact on children: on their health and wellbeing, their education and care, and the risks of an increase in exploitation, violence and abuse. The effects of such cuts can become irreversible leading to malnourishment, insufficient education, increased levels of violence, and so on.
Local and regional authorities must opt for rights-based policies so they can ensure children are not adversely affected by the consequences of the crisis.
Mr van den Hout will propose a report on the effects of austerity measures on children's rights and well-being to the Congress' Current Affairs Committee.