By: DAISY SAMPSON
FOLLOWING THE disappearance of Madeleine McCann over a year ago, calls for a Europe wide child alert system, similar to the Amber Alert System in the US, have been growing.
Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry McCann were both present at the reading of the written declaration 0036/2008 on April 24 in Brussels. Although this declaration has received publicity, it is far from guaranteed that it will be adopted and it requires the support of the European public to push it through to the
The basis of the alert would be to coordinate the efforts of the media, police and transportation officials to activate a quick response to any child in Europe that is suspected of being abducted (read full details of the child alert system in the special supplement to mark one year of Madeleine’s disappearance in The Resident’s edition of May 2).
The principle author of the written declaration on emergency cooperation in recovering missing children is Edward McMillan-Scott, a UK MEP. The Resident contacted his office and a spokesperson told us: “Edward is happy with the progress of the written declaration. So far, 192 members have signed it and there are still three more sessions before recess.”
Active campaigners for the introduction of a European Amber Alert type system are Christopher Fitzpatrick and Christine Kelly, the father and aunt of Amy Fitzpatrick, the teenager who went missing on January 1 2008 in Fuengirola, Spain.
Christine Kelly told The Resident: “Our first priority now is to find Amy and the second very important priority is to ensure that there is an Amber Alert system for Europe put in place for this to never happen to another child.”
As part of the campaign by Christine and Christopher, the former came to the Algarve in April to distribute posters in border towns and heighten awareness of the disappearance of Amy. “The Portuguese police were very helpful. We are very grateful for all the help we received while we were in the Algarve”, said Christine.
A Europe wide emergency system for missing children is required to protect all the children of Europe. “Every child deserves this”, said Christine Kelly.
Susan Hubbard, a resident of Praia da Luz and friend of Kate and Gerry McCann, has been trying to encourage support in the Algarve and believes that this written declaration is essential to the protection of children throughout Europe. She has been campaigning in the Algarve “as a mother, as someone who has been affected by Madeleine´s abduction and as someone who has been astounded by the facts I have been learning along the way”.
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