To: Mrs. Ursula von der Leyen, President, EU Commission
Mr. Charles Michael, President, EU Council
Mrs. Roberta Metsola, President, European Parliament
It is a pleasure to welcome you today to Tirana, Albania, in the framework of the Berlin Process Summit. We expected that part of the discussions of this Summit would include the issue of protection of children outside the EU from sexual violence and exploitation on the Internet, but that did not happen!
While on 11 May 2023, civil society across the European Union welcomed the new draft of the EU Commission Regulation on preventing and combating sexual violence against children, in the Western Balkans and many other countries outside the EU, online child victims of sexual violence and exploitation have very little information on where to report CSAM, while law enforcement agencies lack the preparation, tools and capacities to properly investigate such crimes.
When the new EU Regulation is adopted – all non-EU countries, especially those in the Western Balkans, may be adversely affected by the shift of activities related to online child sexual violence and exploitation in their countries. To counter this extremely serious threat, we call on You and the EU institutions to take the following measures:
-The Commission, Parliament and Council of the European Union should encourage and support all member states of the Western Balkans, Ukraine and neighboring countries, in cooperation with local NGOs, to improve their national legislation and to establish at least the same standards as the draft EU regulation. The inclusion of such an important and sensitive issue within the ongoing negotiations with Western Balkan countries, but also the Berlin Process would show that children outside the EU are and will remain a priority for the EU.
-The EU Commission should lead the measures at European and global level, by bringing together the WB countries, the Council of Europe, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, CSO, etc., to discuss and agree on how to best protect children around the world from online sexual violence and exploitation, including the possibility of a new Convention on Prevention and Combating Online Child Sexual Violence and Exploitation.
We believe that only a well-coordinated response at European and global level can protect children from online sexual abuse and any other form of online violence.
This petition is supported by these organizations, networks, and groups:
- Child Rights Centre Albania (CRCA/ECPAT Albania)
- National Child Helpline (ALO 116-111)
- National Hotline for Child Internet Safety (iSIGURT.al)
- Barnahus Albania
- Women’s Counseling and Social Services Center, Kukës
- ECPAT Türkiye
- Down Syndrome Foundation Albania
- Education for Life Association (SHKEJ)
- Network for Children’s Rights, Greece (NCR)
- Spletno oko, Slovenia
- EDguard, Kosovo
- ECPAT International
- Albanian Coalition for Education
- Human Rights House Albania