Cope organize an Annual Conference in Zagreb, Friday 20 of May

On Friday 20 May 2016 the Annual COPE Conference will be held in Zagreb, Croatia. The title of the Conference of this year will be: “Children with a parent in conflict with the law: What are their best interests? How can they be met?”

According to recent statistics approximately 1 milion children in Europe are estimated to have a parent in conflict with law, numbers which make this topic very delicate.

The decision to hold the COPE Annual Conference in Croatia this year was given added impetus by Croatia’s plans to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure (OP3 CRC) in 2016. This mechanism will allow children or their representatives to report child rights violations, including rights violations concerning children of imprisoned people, to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in cases where the national legal system fails to provide remedy for these violations.

The conference will focus on defining children’s best interests when a parent is in conflict with the law, whether imprisoned, arrested or on trial, and ensuring that these interests are met through good practice and the development of child-focused prison schemes. The best interest of the child should always guide all the decisions that regard child’s future, especially in this kind of context.

Determining the best interests of children with imprisoned parents is not always straight-forward and further progress is needed in defining best interests standards. This conference aims to shed light on this theme, helping to clarify what constitutes best practice and how this best practice can be promoted and implemented more widely.

The conference will be co-hosted by the Ombudsman for Children For Croatia and will take place at the Old Town Hall in Zagreb. Speakers will include Judge Renate Winter, vice chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Margaret Tuite, Child Rights Coordinator at the European Commission, and Valentina Otmačić, President of UNICEF Croatia.

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