In May 2021, a recommendation by the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Rights of the Child set important progress in motion for the protection of animals.
In the recommendation, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child called on the Tunisian government to eliminate societal violence against animals. This was followed by a university study showing that the empathy of children who witness violence against animals partially regresses and that, over time, they can even view violence as normal.
The Connection Between Children’s Rights and Animal Rights: Can It Change the World?
Since then, the global committee has recognised that children can be “harmfully affected” by violent animal abuse. This is a groundbreaking development for the protection of both children and animals because the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has the highest international endorsement of any human rights treaty – it has been ratified by 196 countries and has the power to compel countries to act.
A lot has been done since the recommendation was released in 2021, but thousands of animals continue to be killed on the streets and in the name of “tradition” in front of children every day. Governments around the world are far from fulfilling their responsibilities.
How Enforcing the Protection of Animals Can Help Protect Children
The European Link Coalition is committed to drawing the UN Committee’s attention to violations of children’s rights due to violence against animals and to urging member States of the Convention on the Rights of the Child to take action. It is made up of partner organisations campaigning in different countries, and organisations in Azerbaijan, Italy, Morocco, Tunisia, and many other countries are already pressuring their governments to take responsibility.
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child itself calls on all UN agencies, national human rights institutions, non-governmental organisations, and other specialist groups to provide it with relevant information on the legal status and occurrence of all forms of violence and on progress towards eradicating them. 
In addition, the European Council can exert significant influence in this area by demanding a humane management programme for homeless animals within the framework of the European Convention on the Protection of Pet Animals.
If enough people and organisations draw attention to the alarming level of violence children are exposed to through cruelty to and the killing of animals and call on governments and states to fulfil their obligation to protect children, we can bring about historic change in the way our society treats all living, feeling beings.
Torturous traditions must be transformed into compassionate customs, and governments must develop sustainable strategies to curb the population of homeless animals and protect thousands of children and animals from immense suffering.
How You Can Take Action for Animals and Children
Are you active in animal welfare or children’s aid organisations? If so, draw the attention of the people and organisations in your environment, at home and abroad, to the important link between the protection of children and that of animals. By raising awareness of this connection and the associated obligations of states, you can help achieve structural change in dealing with homeless animals and the elimination of violent traditions.
Tunisia/Morocco Interim UNCRC Report
This video shows the current activities of the European Link Coalition in Morocco and Tunisia.
 United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. Concluding observations on the combined fourth to sixth periodic reports of Tunisia. Published 2 September 2021. Accessed 4 April 2023. https://www.ohchr.org/en/documents/concluding-observations/crcctunco4-6-concluding-observations-tunisia-committee-rights
 United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. General comment No 13 (2011): The right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence. Published 18 April 2011. Accessed 4 April 2023. https://www.humanrights.ch/cms/upload/pdf/111213_CRC.Gen._Com._13.pdf