Involving children more

Involving children more

Should children's rights be included in the Basic Law? © VGstockstudio (shutterstock)

Several associations demanded over the weekend that children's rights be anchored in the Basic Law. The occasion was this year's World Children's Day on Friday. The FDP, on the other hand, was skeptical.

On Sunday, parties for girls and boys were held in Berlin and Cologne with, according to organizers, a total of about 200.000 visitors as well as in other places. The German Children's Fund and Unicef Germany underscored the demand that "all children must be better informed about their rights, that they must be taken more seriously and that they must be more involved in shaping our society".

This must go hand in hand with an improvement in the legal position of children in Germany, especially by anchoring children's rights in the Basic Law. Federal Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht and Family Minister Franziska Giffey (both SPD) also renewed their call for children's rights to be enshrined in the Basic Law.

"Include children's rights in the constitution"

The president of the German Child Protection League, Heinz Hilgers, expressed similar views. "In order to have a good constitutional basis for further steps, we need protection rights for our children, promotion rights for children, participation rights for children and the priority of the best interests of the child," Hilgers told Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (Saturday). "These are the four points that we must include in the Basic Law. Otherwise it makes no sense."

Participation rights are also important with regard to cases of sexual abuse, he added. For example, he said, the boy who had been abused for years in Staufen, near Freiburg, had not even been heard, either by the administration or by the judiciary. "This must be possible, and it must be possible independently of the parents."

FDP: Strengthen parents, not the state

FDP parliamentary group vice chairman Stephan Thomae was skeptical. Such an amendment to the Basic Law could strengthen the role of the state through the back door at the expense of the rights of parents and children, he writes in the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung".

It would be better to insert children's rights as a sort of "serving" fundamental right, precisely to make it clear that parents have a special responsibility for their children and must promote and protect their welfare. State and society should be explicitly not mentioned. Thomae specifically suggested the phrase "parents serve the welfare and rights of children".

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