"The Girl Who Kept Her Eyes Open"

Publishes a book for children to raise awareness about Ukrainian children - war refugees

More than 48,300 Ukrainian refugees are registered in Latvia, including more than 4,190 children of Ukrainian war refugees studying in Latvian schools. These children have been forced to leave their previous lives - family, friends, everything that is dear to them. Today, the European Commission is launching the children's book "The Girl Who Kept Her Eyes Open". Its aim is to raise awareness of the problems faced by both children and adults fleeing war. In this project, the Commission has collaborated with the well-known Ukrainian illustrator Anna Sarvir. The book encourages everyone to keep their eyes open to notice the experiences of these children and respond to their needs.

The book "The Girl Who Kept Her Eyes Open" tells the story of a Ukrainian girl who meets a particularly observant girl at her new school in another country. The book shows the importance of paying attention to other people and offering them support as they integrate into a new country after fleeing war. It is intended for children aged 7-10, as well as their parents and teachers. The book emphasizes the importance of compassion, solidarity and support. It is an invaluable aid in portraying in an easy-to-understand way the wide-ranging consequences of Russia's aggression against Ukraine.

"To build a more inclusive, compassionate and just society, it is important to understand the experiences of those fleeing war and to recognize their rights. By engaging children from an early age and harnessing the power of story, we hope to foster empathy and solidarity that will build a safer future for all, " European Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders emphasized.The book is a continuation of the European Commission's "I will keep my eyes open", which was created to promote awareness of violence - victims and their rights in the European Union. This campaign was implemented in the framework of the EU Strategy on Victims' Rights. The aim of the strategy is to ensure that victims of crime learn how to exercise their basic rights and where to turn for support. The book "The Girl Who Kept Her Eyes Open" promotes awareness of solidarity and explains why people fleeing war need special support and attention. Some of them may be victims of war-related crimes who have rights under EU law.

EU rules on victims' rights

The EU has a set of rights for all victims of crime. The Victims' Rights Directive 2012 is the main piece of legislation that includes a set of victims' rights, including the right to access information, support and protection according to the victim's individual needs and procedural rights. Victims also have the right to be noticed and to receive respectful, sensitive, tailored, professional and non-discriminatory treatment.

On 12 July 2023, the Commission adopted a proposal to revise the Victims' Rights Directive to further strengthen the rights of crime victims in the European Union. According to the current rules, victims of war-related crimes are subject to EU rules on the rights of victims in criminal proceedings related to crimes committed in the European Union.

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