As an introduction...
Foreword of the report:
The ORK exists now since 11 years. Madame Marie Anne Rodesch-Hengesch and her Committee hand over the responsibilities to a new Committee and a new president. You have the 11th report of the ORK and the first one of the new Committee. For me as president, as Ombudsman for the rights of the child, it is the end of my learning period in this function. This report was my great apprehension. Which themes to choose? How to treat them? Finally, the themes imposed upon themselves. Concerning the way to treat, we hope to receive some feedback that will help us progress on the right track to defend the rights of the children and to contribute to make changes concerning our mentality and practices.
(…) During this year, I met a lot of people, who are pretty much in distress; I have seen painful situations that I could not imagine before; I took note of facts, which upset me, and resolved conflicts that pleased me.
I became acquainted with a lot of actors on the ground: social workers, educators, people in charge with assistance services, public servants of the different ministries, association committees, representatives of justice and the police. Every time I made the experience that the ORK meets deepest sympathy. Marie Anne Rodesch-Hengesch and her two committees have succeeded, in spite of the weakness of the law of the ORK, to ensure the integration of the Ombuds-Committee in the Luxembourgish society. Even if we intervened to deal with a claim, we normally had a respectful and constructive dialog.
But there were also some frustrated moments: I could not tell the story of the apple. It is a story about a pedagogical team, which was looking after children between 4 and 6 years and which where mislead in a story with an apple. I met three parents, who did not give me a mandate to become active in this case, because they were afraid of eventual negative consequences for their children. I could not convince them to engage a dialog with the concerned persons.
I want to thank the members of the Committee, Monique Fey-Sünnen and Michel Donven, who assume their second mandate and ensure the continuity, Andrée Birnbaum, Paula Martins and Jean-Jacques Schonckert, who, as I, had their first year of experience to familiarize with the implementation of the missions of the ORK. The writing of the report is the occasion to review what has been achieved, but it is also the moment where we realize what has not been done yet. The works and discussions to finalize the report have shown that the committee works well and that he is ready to challenge the problems of the next years. A special thank you to Andrée Birnbaum who has done a large part of the layout of the report.
The constant staff of the ORK, who works since some years for the ORK, helped me a lot to organize myself as Ombudsman for the Rights of the Child. Françoise Gillen, our jurist, can explain me the ins and outs of the acts of law and other legal regulations, and Anne Bausch, our secretary, looks after the reception at the telephone and ensures the management of our little shop.
The website has been completely redone. For now, it is still modest concerning the contents and poor concerning the languages. But we do not have the necessary human resources to update our old website and develop a new one, we decided to upload a new one with the idea to complete information’s and translate as quickly as possible the main information’s. We are hopeful that the website can contribute to raise public awareness for the rights of children and to make the ORK public as an independent instance for the defence of these rights.
The president and the members of the committee hope that the actual report will arouse interest of the public, of the actors on the ground and the political officials. We are impatient to become some positive reactions and critics concerning the questions and presented recommendations.
See also the Déclaration d’ENOC* sur « les enfants migrants » : “Les enfants migrants: des enfant savant tout” adopted by the 17th annual General Assembly of ENOC of the 27th September 2013 at Brussels.
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