About 2 months ago, child protection organizations Action Pour Les Enfants [APLE] in Cambodia and Operation Bobbi Bear [OBB] in South Africa united to join hands after learning about the shocking verdict by the Appeal Court in Leeuwarden in The Netherlands on the 2nd of April 2013. The Appeal court reversed the ban on pedophile advocacy association ‘Martijn’, which was ordered by the court in Assen in June 2012. The decision of the Appeal Court to allow such an organization to exist, one which promotes that “erotic contacts between adults and children, that are pleasurable and consensual, should be accepted by society” [quotation by Martijn], not only shocks us as the Country Directors of APLE and OBB. It concerns us as citizens and it disturbs us even more as parents and carers. Coming from so-called developing countries, we often look to Europe and the West for inspiration and influence. However, the actions and expressions of Martijn, and the Dutch courts and the government condoning this haven’t inspired us at all. In fact, they rather have left us speechless, but certainly not voiceless! We refuse to keep silent on the Dutch (or any!) government condoning associations like Martijn, associations that advocate for the social and legal acceptance of consensual sex between children and adults and child-pornography. This petition is our way of speaking out for the children and their families that have been or are at risk of being affected by this ruling.
The explanations and reasoning behind this petition can be found on this website. We appeal you to read and sign the petition for the sake of all children in The Netherlands and internationally. By joining hands across borders and oceans, like APLE and OBB (and the people that made this online petition possible) have done, we can raise a strong voice as an international community. We invite you and your organizations to become a part of this!
Through our work at APLE and OBB, we have witnessed and experienced first-hand the trail of damage and destruction that is caused among children, their families and their communities, by child sexual abuse and exploitation perpetrated by locals as well as traveling sex offenders. All too often the perpetrators state that the sexual contact with the minors was consensual. However, we know that these children are too young to comprehend what is happening to them and to foresee the devastating aftermath. Sexual offenders often have great influence and control over their victims because they don’t have the power to stand up for themselves.
APLE and OBB are aware that the case of Martijn will be brought before the Supreme Court in the Netherlands for an ultimate ruling. We however see the importance and necessity of raising our voices now. The Dutch government has signed multiple international conventions that in our view oblige the government to enact legislation to re-ban Martijn and to prevent similar organizations from springing up in the future.
Important articles in this matter are Article 34 of the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child [UNCRC], Article 9 of the UNCRC Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, and Article 8 of the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse [Lanzarote Convention]. We would be disillusioned if the country that houses the worlds’ International Courts of Justice, fails to uphold the commitments made in these international conventions and implement effective legislation. Yet, even if these conventions and protocols would not exist, then we believe there has to be a public outcry from a moral point of view. It is society’s duty to protect those most vulnerable and dependent in any society: children; and to prevent them by all means possible from sexual abuse and exploitation.
We thank you for your attention and exhort you once again to join this international campaign. Let us speak up for the children that need your voice! Please share the petition with others and invite them to sign.
Country Director for Action Pour Les Enfants [APLE],
Kingdom of Cambodia
CEO for Operation Bobbi Bear [OBB],
Republic of South Africa