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Compromise on children’s rights in the Basic Law meets with criticism | Free press

Berlin (dpa) – Opposition politicians and child protection organizations essentially welcome the agreement between the Union and the SPD to include children’s rights in the Basic Law.

However, the Greens, the left and organizations like UNICEF, the German Child Welfare Association or the German Children’s Fund criticized the specific wording for the planned constitutional change as clearly too weak. It is unclear whether the project can be completed by the federal election, as the Union and the SPD also require opposition votes. The Basic Law can only be amended by a two-thirds majority in the Bundestag and Bundesrat.

According to information from the SPD faction, a coalition working group finally discussed the exact wording of the change on Tuesday evening. According to the Ministry of Justice, Article 6 of the Basic Law, which regulates the relationship between parents, children and the state, should be supplemented with the following passage: “The constitutional rights of children, including their right to develop into independent personalities, must are respected and protected. Due account must be taken of the best interests of the child. The constitutional right of children to be heard must be upheld. The primary responsibility of the parents remains unaffected. “

The CDU, CSU and SPD had decided in their coalition agreement to explicitly include the rights of children for their joint term of office in the Basic Law. Child protection organizations have been calling for this for years. Proponents argue that the constitution will give a whole new weight to children’s concerns and should always be taken into account – for example, in legislation or in practical terms when planning whether to build a playground or a gas station on a site. whether there will be a bypass around a residential area.

There was a long dispute between the Union and the SPD over the specific design and clarity of the wording. Politicians from the CDU and CSU had expressed fear that the state would interfere too strongly with families. “After a long struggle, we have now found a wording that is acceptable to both parties,” said Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD). Family Minister Franziska Giffey (SPD) added: “The interests of children and young people and their rights vis-à-vis the state must be strengthened in all decisions affecting them.” The agreed wording makes children’s rights visible – “They are for the first time in the Basic Law, our highest value system.”

SPD party chairman Katja Mast spoke about a breakthrough on Tuesday. The CDU and CSU have long refused. “The task now is to work together to achieve a two-thirds majority in the Bundestag and Bundesrat”. If that does not work, the window on children’s rights in the Basic Act will be closed for years.

However, finding a majority will be a major challenge. Like Union politicians, the FDP had expressed fears of too much government interference in families. The AfD rejects an amendment to the Basic Law. On the other hand, the compromise found is far too weak from the point of view of the left and the Greens. “The inclusion of children’s rights in the Basic Law in a purely symbolic form now does not help the children in this country,” said Katrin Göring-Eckardt, the leader of the Green Group. The child and youth policy spokesman for the left-wing group, Norbert Müller, criticized that the proposal did not meet the standards of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. That is not acceptable.

The concrete wording urgently needs to be improved, said Katja Dörner (Greens), mayor of Bonn and board member of the German Children’s Fund, the newspapers of the Funke media group. The Children’s Rights Action Alliance, which brings together the Children’s Fund, the Child Protection Association, UNICEF Germany and the German League for Children, in principle applauded the coalition plans, but also criticized them as inadequate. Left-wing, green and child protection organizations demand genuine participation rights from children, so that they are involved in political, social and economic processes and their interests are taken into account.

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