20 February 2009

EU praise for Portuguese resolution in missing children cases

Two years ago, the European Commission reserved 116000 telephone number as a common missing children hotline for the entire EU and called on Member States to get it up and running as soon as possible. This week, the EU singled out Portugal for its effective manner in dealing with missing child cases, which is in stark contrast to most other member states across Europe.

Portugal, along with Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands and Romania are currently the only EU countries where the 116000 is now a working service. It will also be functioning soon in two further countries (Belgium and Slovakia).

“It is good news that the missing children hotline 116000 is now working in Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Portugal and Romania. However, I would have expected a more ambitious approach from other Member States. There is no room or time for complacency when it comes to the safety of our children,” said Viviane Reding, EU Telecoms Commissioner.

“I am calling on Member States to live up to their responsibilities and inform service providers of the availability of the 116 numbers so we can quickly get the hotlines working across the EU. Beyond legal obligations – which I will continue to enforce vigorously – there is a moral obligation to European parents and children.”

Last year, 116000 proved its value in a cross-border parental abduction case. In Belgium, a father took his daughters aged seven, ten and fourteen, and hid them for nine and a half months, in very poor and dangerous conditions.

In September 2008, following a request from the Belgian and Portuguese 116000 missing children hotlines, the evening news on Portuguese TV channel RTP-TV opened with an appeal for information about these missing children and concluded by showing 116000 full-screen.

Minutes after the broadcast, the case was resolved.

The EC has argued that implementing 116000 everywhere in Europe would make search campaigns and international cooperation easier and more effective. Hotlines would be able to act in a more coordinated way to resolve cross-border disappearances of children.

Despite the well-publicised disappearance of British toddler Madeleine McCann in May, 2007, the United Kingdom has yet to initiate any moves to have this hotline introduced there.

Source: Portugal News

4 comments:

  1. This can be a two-edged sword, it can be very effective in cases of children taken by one of the parents, but can be a death sentence for children abducted by strangers, like in the case of paedophiles and such nutters, who, when realizing that the child has become a "hot-potato", they might feel trapped and do away with the child.
    It's a terrible decision, damned if you do and damned if you don't!

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  2. Observing Madeleine's last photo at the swimming pool, I see she is wearing a dress, which does no match with the orange sport clothes of her brother or sister.Dresses are not practicle in creches during vacations.Most children weaar them at the end of the arternoon of evening.I would expect her to wear trousers or shorts,during the day, also because she went to the beach that morning and would play around in the creche in the afternoon.The same afternoon she played tennis, wearing other clothes (and that must have been the last photo) and she died in the red T-shirt, and she was transported in pajamas.
    Why is the other twin not present at the swimming pool photo.Was she wearing shorts?

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  3. O Loureiro dá ganza, a ler aqui: http://portaria-59.blogspot.com/

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  4. No C. da Manhã de hoje vem uma notícia sobre o desaparecimento de Sara Sofia, afinal parece que é um rapto familiar, suspeita-se que foi a mãe que a levou, possivelmente para Espanha! Neste caso o sistema de alerta poderia ter sido muito útil.

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