(New York – 9 February) Speaking on the occasion of Safer Internet Day, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children, Marta Santos Pais, renewed her call to ensure that the empowerment of children is at the heart of building a safer and more inclusive Internet:
“Information and communications technologies evolve and spread at a phenomenal speed. This evolution represents an amazing opportunity, which more and more children are availing of to learn, play, create, socialize, and express themselves. However, without determined and coordinated action, millions of children will continue to be excluded from the benefits of the Internet; child victims of on-line violence, abuse and exploitation will continue to multiply; and impunity for these offences will go unchecked.
On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, SRSG Santos Pais calls for an end to violence against children with disabilities and adds her voice to the Campaign to #ENDViolence against Children with Disabilities.
There are at least 93 million children with disabilities around the world. Many are considered to be a cause of shame to their families and a curse and misfortune for their communities. The lives of children with disabilities can be surrounded by stigma, discrimination, cultural prejudices, ill-perceptions and shocking invisibility. In addition, children with disabilities are at dramatically heightened risk of violence, neglect, abuse and exploitation.
In spite of limited data and research, available studies reveal an alarming prevalence of violence against children with disabilities – from higher vulnerability to physical and emotional violence when they are young to greater risks of sexual violence as they reach puberty.
Marking the first European Day against Sexual Violence on 18 November, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children welcomed this important initiative by the Council of Europe. The European Day against Sexual Violence will help to raise public awareness of children's protection from sexual abuse and exploitation, while strengthening prevention initiatives and promoting the ratification and implementation of the Council's Lanzarote Convention. Special Representative Santos Pais commends the efforts of the Council of Europe, including through the ONE in FIVE Campaign which aims to achieve further ratification and implementation of the treaty.
SRSG Santos Pais calls for protection of children from online violence at Digital Literacy Forum in Argentina
SRSG Santos Pais joined more than 200 children from the Americas to discuss effective ways of ensuring that children and teenagers can safely embrace ICTs (Information and Communications Technologies).
As keynote speaker at the First Regional Summit on Digital Literacy and Citizenship "Technology for a Better World" held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Ms. Santos Pais called for the promotion of a safe, inclusive and empowering digital agenda for children as an indispensable strategy to protect children from violence.
Bullying is a serious concern for millions of children all over the world. The scale, pervasiveness and impact of bullying on children’s development and wellbeing were discussed at a side event co-organized by SRSG Santos Pais with the Governments of Mexico and Japan. The event was held during the United Nations General Assembly‘s debate on the rights of the child, which this year places particular emphasis on children’s right to education.
Bullying compromises children’s rights, including the right to education. It presents special risks for children in situations of vulnerability, such as children with disabilities; children affected by migration or who are asylum seekers or refugees; children who are socially excluded; children who belong to a minority or who are indigenous.
Reports Third Committee to the Pleenary (69th Session United Nations General Assembly) here
Human Rights Council Resolution: Rights of the child: a holistic approach to the protection and promotion of the rights of children working and/or living on the street (A/HRC/RES/16/12)
Resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council 16/12 - Rights of the child: a holistic approach to the protection and promotion of the rights of children working and/or living on the street
We live in a globalizing world, in constant change. The search for better economic opportunities and for a better lifestyle, on the one hand; and political instability and armed conflicts, violence and discrimination, climate change and natural disasters, on the other, are some of the reasons behind international and internal migration flows – from South to North, and more significantly, across and within countries in the South.