A recommendation that EU countries should ban Muslim girls from wearing headscarves in primary schools has failed to make it into a non-binding European Parliament report on children’s rights in the EU.
Supporters of a ban argued it would ensure freedom of choice at a later age.
Dutch Liberal MEP Sophie in ’t Veld says why she
was against it:
“By banning something you don’t actually change people’s mentality. You can ban headscarves but you can’t ban the ideas behind it. So we need to fight this fight with ideas, and on the whole I don’t like the idea of telling people how they can or cannot dress.”
Another part of the report by centre-right MEP Roberta Angelilli concerned the increasing incidence of paedophiles using the internet to contact children and exchange child pornography.
The parliament wants to expand work with credit card companies to stop people buying child pornography, and block access to certain sites.
The EU’s recognition of children’s right to protection is included in the new Lisbon reform Treaty.
Mieke Schuurman, of the European Children’s Network:
“We believe that the EU should also be obliged to take the United Nations Convention on the rights of the child into account. With the new EU treaty there will be a legal base for children’s rights to be taken into account in the EU policies that are going to be made and affecting them.”
The report for the Civil Liberties Committee also called for a specific budget to fund development of an EU children’s rights strategy.