The Council of Europe (CoE) is an international organisation defending Human Rights all over the European continent and beyond - with 47 member countries. The CoE focuses on crucial humanitarian causes such as the abolition of the death penalty, the fight against racism, the upholding freedom of expression, gender equality and the protection of children's rights.
The Council of Europe’s programme for children focuses on protecting their rights, preventing violence, ensuring that offenders are prosecuted, and promoting children's participation in decisions that concern them. The major achievement of the CoE’s programme for children is the Convention for the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse – or Lanzarote Convention –, the first instrument criminalising sexual abuse of children, including at home or in the family. The Convention came into force in 2010 and has been ratified by 48 countries to date.
The states ratifying the Lanzarote Convention agree to criminalise sexual activity with children below the legal age of consent, as well as "child prostitution and pornography." The Convention sets out several measures to prevent child sexual exploitation and abuse and to act once such abuse has taken place.
The CoE supported the IWF in the Reporting Portals project, by helping to launch the portals in Morocco and Tunisia. While Tunisia ratified the Lanzarote Convention in 2019, Morocco is looking to become a signatory. Our partners at the CoE put us in touch with the relevant actors in both countries, including government and NGOs. This multi-stakeholders collaboration led to the launch of the Moroccan portal in February 2021, the first portal launched in the Middle East and North Africa region, and to the Tunisian portal launch in June 2021. Both these portals have been funded by the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children.
The IWF also has observer status to the Lanzarote Committee (the Committee of the Parties to the Lanzarote Convention) which enables us to input into best practice and collaborate across the Member States of the Council of Europe and its observers.