United Nations Universal Children’s Day Conference
On Tuesday, November 22nd, in observance of the U.N. Universal Children’s Day, a panel of experts on the subject of children’s rights discussed pressing human rights issues at the Church of Scientology International European Office of Public Affairs and Human Rights in Brussels, Belgium.
The conference, entitled “The Abuse of Children in Europe and Beyond” addressed the forced drugging of children for so-called behavioural disorders despite growing evidence of the harmful effects of these drugs. The conference initiated a declaration demanding the end to forced child drugging.
Participants of the conference included Dr. Iftikhar Ayaz, member of the Minority Rights Group of the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC); Ms. Luciana Sbarbati, Italian MEP; Dr. Roberto Cestari, Consultant of the Tuscany and Piedmont region of Italy for Human Rights and Mental Health and President of the Citizen’s Commission on Human Rights of Italy and Dr. Sami Timimi, UK author and psychiatrist.
Dr. Norberto Liwiski, Vice President of the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, joined the conference through a video conference link from Buenos Aires. In his presentation to the conference he called for legislation on the subject of child drugging in the European Union.
Last August, the European Commission issued the strongest government warning to date against child antidepressant use, based on findings by the European Medicines Agency. In September, 2005, the Committee on the Rights of the Child expressed concerns over an estimated 17 million children being prescribed mind-altering drugs for so-called behavioural disorders despite the growing evidence of the harmful effects of these drugs.
“This new form of child abuse is a very serious human rights issue,” said Martin Weightman, Human Rights Director of the Church of Scientology International European Human Rights Office. “Abuse against children threatens the very fabric of society. As Scientology founder,
“The medicalising of children’s behaviour problems and the attempt to control their behaviour with dangerous, psychiatric medication means that the new eugenics is already with us,” said Dr. Sami Timimi. “As a scientist, a doctor, a father and a citizen,” Dr. Timimi went on to say, “I believe we have a moral obligation to do all we can to protect our children from suffering any further damage and I urge policy makers to carry out an urgent review of practices in the area of ADHD and the use of medication for control of children’s behaviour and to put in place a moratorium on further prescribing of psychiatric medication to children until such an investigation is completed. To remain silent on this issue is to betray our children.”
The General Assembly of the United Nations recommended in 1954 that all countries institute a Universal Children’s Day. The 20th of November marks the day on which the Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.
With 192 ratifying countries, the Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most widely endorsed of any international human rights treaty. The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child is the body responsible for monitoring implementation of the Convention by its member states.