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.
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