Queen Mathilde, honorary president of the Child Focus foundation, is calling everyone to “remain vigilant, because to this day children are still going missing or getting lost on a regular basis.” 20 years after the kidnapping of Julie Lejeune and Melissa Russo, the queen reveals in a press release that she was “particularly affected by the fate of these young girls who were kidnapped and murdered,” and why she decided to give a speech “on the occasion of the commemoration of this tragedy.” “20 years ago our country was in shock. As a young woman at the time, I was particularly affected by the fate of these young girls who were kidnapped and murdered. Their parents’ calls for help inspired a movement of solidarity with the families seldom seen before. I am pleased that, later on, measures were taken to help the victims,” she said. “But we must remain vigilant,” she added.
“There needs to be strong cooperation between authorities and citizens if we are going stop children and youths disappearing and being exploited. We measure the value of a civilisation by the level of care and protection it grants its children. Let us all be vigilant, because to this day children are regularly registered as missing or lost. We can’t just sit back and do nothing about this.”
The queen is currently on a royal visit to China with her husband King Philippe, accompanied by Foreign Secretary Didier Reynders and the minister-presidents of 3 Belgian regions.