The Congregation of our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd became affiliated with the United Nations as a Nongovernmental Organization (NGO) in consultative status with ECOSOC in November 1996.
The purpose of this affiliation is to further our mission of reconciliation, particularly in its orientation toward girls and women. Through this means of collaboration we work to bring about change in whatever conditions condemn others to a marginalized life.
We are also member of the RENATE network and could use this network to deliver a very meaningful oral statement to the report of the Special Rapporteur on child sale and exploitation of children. Within the 43th session of the Human Rights council, it is possible for a limited number of NGOs to answer directly to the report of a Special Rapporteur, and we got this opportunity.
The organization “Right to Childhood”, based in Ruse, Bulgaria, also a member of the RENATE network identified several points, which need to be improved in Bulgaria, to tackle the trafficking of children. Because of the short time, we had to deliver our statement, we addressed the situation, that in Bulgaria the “Juvenile Delinquency Act”, a law from 1958 punishes children for a behavior which adults are not punished for, such as begging or wandering. Children, who were victims of trafficking often show this behavior as a result of their trauma, and are therefore punished for a behavior which should be treated professionally as a result of trauma, but not as criminals. Therefore, the current situation in Bulgaria where social and psychological professions are unregulated, firstly needs regulation and secondly, good training and be in line with international standards.
This problem, what was identified by the organization “Right to Childhood”, was equally mentioned in the report of the Special Rapporteur on child sale and exploitation of children. So we could affirm this report through the experience of our work in the field in Bulgaria.
I value this as very effective networking, and our members from Bulgaria could already use the statement and the video, which is available on the UN’s Web.TV to start their lobby work with a group of fieldworkers and even politicians. We wish our colleagues in Bulgaria every success and hope, that very soon, children in Bulgaria, who are victims of trafficking will not be punished for acting out their trauma but instead, will be helped by highly educated professionals.
Link to the short video
Link to the full report video
Link to the second part of the session, with the last memberstates speaking and all NGO interventions