Sunday, 24 May 2009

Ten European Union countries Join Forces For International Day For Missing Children.


116 000.jpg

Tomorrow, 10 out of 27 countries will have activated 116000.

From tomorrow, Monday, with support from France, the number of European countries which have already adopted and put the European line for missing children into service, becomes 10, with 116000 the free, dedicated phone number planned for receiving urgent calls in cases of disappearance. Portugal was the second country after Hungary, to apply a European Union directive that dates from 2002, but which is still not respected by the 17 remaining member countries, amongst them the United Kingdom, the country with the greatest number of disappearances.

Simultaneously, in the ten counties - Portugal, Belgium, Greece, The Netherlands, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and France, a campaign of publicity and awareness starts tomorrow to raise awareness of the possibilities of the service: through 116000 the parents of a missing child can file a report, the public can more easily offer information and the missing child himself can ask for help.

The new campaign of awareness, which in Portugal is the responsibility of the Instituto de Apoio à Criança (Help For Children Institute) coincides with the International Day For Missing Children and is officially launched tomorrow at the Gulbenkian* in the presence of the Minister for Internal Administration and the Head of the National Representation for the European Union.

Operational 24 hours a day, the number is free and the calls are received by trained professionals, belonging to governmental organisations - in Portugal the service is represented by the Intituto de Apoio à Criança (Help For Children Institute) - which works at a national and international level with police and judicial bodies.

The most recent case of missing children in Europe - including the media case of Madeleine McCann - have led the European Institutions to insist that the 17 remaining members adopt the service as a matter of urgency. Based on the European strategy for the Rights of The Child, the European Commission introduced the 116000 number in February 2007 as the European phone number for missing children, a decision finalised by a directive, indicating to member States the line to follow for the emergency service to be adopted throughout the European Union.

Duarte Levy

Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência: The Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC) was founded and is supported by the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian (FCG) to carry on biomedical research and education. The IGC operates as a "host institution", offering excellent facilities and services to foreign and Portuguese research groups or individual scientists, in particular to young post-doctoral fellows who are expected to develop their projects and form their groups in complete autonomy.)

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