Children’s protection from violence gains further ground with legislative developments in Africa and Europe to ensure conformity with international and regional human rights standards
SRSG welcomes amendments to Malawi’s Constitution banning marriage before the age of 18 and to Lithuania’s Law on the Fundamentals of Protection of the Rights of the Child prohibiting corporal punishment against children.
Globally, Malawi is among the countries with the highest rates of child marriage in the world. Recent data shows nearly 1 in 2 girls are married before age 18, with debilitating and often long-term consequences, including increased risk of suffering violence and abuse and compromising their right to education and health.
In February 2015, the Government of Malawi enacted the Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Act (MDFRA). The act banned marriage for any person below the age of 18 but legal exceptions remained foreseen in the Malawian Constitution, which allowed 15-17 year olds to marry upon parental consent.
1. In the present report, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children reviews key developments promoted at the global, regional and national levels to enhance the protection of children from violence.
2. The Special Representative is guided by General Assembly resolution 62/141, in which the Assembly established the mandate, and acts as a bridge builder and a global, independent advocate for the prevention and elimination of all forms of violence against children. In its resolution 70/137, the Assembly expressed support for the work of the Special Representative and recommended that the Secretary-General extend the mandate for a further period of three years, and maintain support for the effective and independent performance and sustainability of the mandate, funded from the regular budget.
Investment in children is crucial to sustain peace and development and build peaceful, just and inclusive societies, stresses SRSG
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognises children as essential agents of change who will channel their infinite capacities for the creation of a better and more inclusive world, a world in which every child grows up free from fear and from violence. Investment in children is crucial to sustain peace and development, and build peaceful, just and inclusive societies. This was the key message delivered by SRSG Santos Pais in her remarks during the High Level Dialogue on Building Sustainable Peace for All: Synergies between the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Sustaining Peace organised by the President of the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly.
Participating in the International Symposium School Violence and Bullying: From Evidence to Action, held in Seoul, 17 - 19 January, SRSG Santos Pais welcomed the increasing awareness and commitment to protect children from school violence and to enhance action for the prevention and elimination of bullying.
SRSG report to the Human Rights Council urges accelerated progress in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to build a world free from violence for all children
Children’s protection from violence is a legal and ethical imperative and it is also a distinct priority in the global sustainable development agenda. Ensuring progress in implementation, follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda targets on violence against children needs to be at the heart of the policy agenda of every nation. But to achieve this goal, leadership and accountability are of the essence and in all actions it is vital to honour the pledge of leaving no child behind. Children on the move, especially those who are unaccompanied or separated from their families, are amongst those for whom the ambitious vision of Agenda 2030 remains distant and illusory. It is crucial to transform the continuum of violence that shapes their lives into a continuum of protection, highlighted SRSG Santos Pais.
The General Assembly,
Reaffirming the importance of its resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989, by which it adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1 which constitutes the standard in the promotion and protection of the rights of the child, reaffirming also that States parties to the Convention shall undertake all appropriate legislative,
administrative and other measures for the implementation of the rights recognized therein, while bearing in mind the importance of the Optional Protocols to the Convention and calling for their universal ratification and effective implementation, as well as that of other human rights instruments,
SRSG welcomes launch of new five-year National Plan of Action to End Violence Against Women and Children in Tanzania
The Special Representative welcomes the launch of a new National Plan of Action to end Violence Against Women and Children in Tanzania which builds on the country's initial response to the findings of the Violence Against Children data survey carried out in 2009 to advance implementation of the recommendations made by the UN Study in Violence against Children.
SRSG Santos Pais commends the French parliament for passing the Equality and Citizenship bill which promotes the ending of violence against children including corporal punishment.
On Thursday, 22 December, a final vote was taken on Article 68 of the “Egalité et Citoyenneté” (Equality and Citizenship) bill, which states that the exercise of parental authority must exclude "any cruel, degrading or humiliating treatment, including corporal punishment".
Statement by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children on International Migrants Day
New York, 18 December 2016 - "On International Migrants Day it is imperative to stand up for the rights of migrant children, especially for those who are traveling unaccompanied or separated from their families. It is crucial to transform the continuum of violence that shapes their lives into a continuum of protection of their fundamental rights", stressed SRSG Santos Pais
Time and time again, children’s decision to leave their communities has become an escape strategy to secure their safety and protection, to reach a safe haven from political instability, conflict, violence and exploitation.
Indeed, for children on the move, violence infuses daily life: fear is widespread and there is a profound sense of insecurity and impunity.
SRSG Santos Pais welcomes the release of the first national survey on violence against children by the Philippine Council for the Welfare of Children and UNICEF. Though deeply saddened by the details of the data, which reveals that 8 in 10 children in the Philippines suffer some form of violence in childhood, the SRSG commends the Government for conducting this ground-breaking survey and committing to a policy response.
“This study is yet another outstanding example of how research can bring to light the hidden reality of violence in children’s daily lives and it lays the foundation for the development of an evidence-based national plan of action to address the issue”, said the SRSG.