The Ring the Alarm team is ecstatic to inform you that the Dutch Supreme Court has ruled today to place a final ban on child-sex advocacy group Martijn. We have fought and persevered for this result through our international campaign.
In July 2012 child sex advocacy group Martijn, which promoted the idea of sex between adults and children, was banned by the Dutch Court of first instance. In April 2013, this ruling was overturned by the appeal court which concluded that society was strong enough to withstand the activity of Martijn and a ban was not required. Today the Supreme Court concluded that the activities of Martijn are a true and severe violation of the protection of children’s physical and sexual integrity. The Supreme Court added that child sexual abuse has severe and long-term consequences and that children are entitled to protection against such abuse. The Supreme Court also stated that these beliefs are held by a broad international community and that the Dutch State has committed itself on an international level to implement measures that will protect children from abuse. The Netherlands has ratified the United Nations Child Rights Convention, and the Council of Europe Lanzarote Convention. The Supreme Court says that the exceptionally severe nature of the activities of Martijn, which are aimed at encouraging and glorifying sexual contact with children, lead to a ruling in which the ban on Martijn is seen as a necessary measure to protect the health, rights and freedom of children.
Through the Ring the Alarm petition, Operation Bobbi Bear (South Africa) and Action Pour Les Enfants (Cambodia), led a coalition of almost 200 other children’s rights organizations from all over the world, and were a voice for vulnerable children and defenders of children’s rights. A core principle of the UN child rights framework is that decisions should be made ‘in the best interest of the child’. However, this is often put aside to serve the best interests of adults, Jackie Branfield, Director of Operation Bobbi Bear, says in a reaction to the Supreme Court verdict. ‘This ruling is a battle won in the global war against children’. Seila Samleang, Director of Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE) says, ‘’APLE’s work to stop child sex tourism in Cambodia means that we see the devastating effects of child sex abuse every day. The Supreme Court is sending a strong message that any activity that encourages the sexual abuse of children is totally unacceptable and complete violation of children’s rights’.”
Ring the Alarm sincerely commend the Supreme Court for this decision today where the best interests of the children in The Netherlands and beyond have prevailed. This ruling is a very important win in the global fight against child exploitation and sexual abuse. We would like to express our greatest respect and gratitude to Dutch politicians like Pieter Omtzigt and Gert-Jan Seegers, who have been courageous defenders of children’s rights.