Second Comparative Arab Report on Implementing the Recomendations of the UN Secretary-General's Study on Violence against Children

17/10/2013

Foreword by Ambassador Faeqa Saeed AlSaleh, Assistant Secretary General LAS

"Since the 1980s, there has been a continuous development of interest in rights of children in the Arab region. This was reinforced by the entry into force of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and its two Optional Protocols. With the third millennium, interest in the situation of Arab children was further reinforced with the rights of the child gaining priority on the agendas of Arab Summit conferences since the Amman Summit (2001) to the Baghdad Summit (2012), in addition to the deliberations of specialized Arab ministerial councils. Thus, the Baghdad Summit adopted the “Marrakech Declaration” issued by the Fourth Arab High Level Conference on the Rights of the Child (2010) as a fiveyear commitment by Member States to improve the situation of children in the Arab region.

This Declaration emphasised the necessity of designing programmes that provide preventive, supportive and care services to child victims of violence, while applying corrective measures and ending impunity by strengthening punishments on crimes committed against children in all forms. The Marrakech conference also called for the adoption of national strategies to combat violence against children and legislate against all its manifestations.

The concern of the League of Arab States with ending violence against children reflects awareness of the negative results of this phenomenon on development, social peace and the future of the Arab region. This position has directed the activities of the Follow-up Committee on Ending Violence Against Children, which is a sub-committee of the Arab Childhood Committee (ACC) established by the Arab Council of Ministers of Social Affairs.

From the start of its first meeting, this Committee brought together representatives of Member States to take a keen interest in monitoring Arab and international efforts to protect children against all forms of violence and related issues, particularly legislation and laws aiming at ending violence against children. One important achievement of this Committee was the release of the First Comparative Arab Report on Implementing the Recommendations of the UN Secretary- General’s Study on Violence Against Children representing a global model for other regions, with the English version launched in October 2011 during the 66th Session of the UN General Assembly, with the participation of the UNICEF Executive Director Mr. Antony Lake, together with Mr. Luca Zelioli, Deputy Chairperson of the Third Committee of the UNGA and Ms. Marta Santos Pais, the UNSRSG on VAC in addition to representatives of international and regional organisations.

To emphasise the Arab commitment to ending all forms of VAC, the LAS Secretariat has endeavoured to ensure the periodic release of the Comparative Arab Report on Implementing the Recommendations of the UN Secretary- General’s Study on VAC every two years, particularly in view of the circumstances and variables affecting the Arab region. This second report covering the period 2010-12 also reflects the continued cooperation with the the Followup Committee on Ending Violence Against Children, as well as the office of the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative on VAC and the UNICEF Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa. It covers several important issues in the context of VAC, including the international commitment of states, the position of Arab states towards international conventions and instruments on the rights of the child, and the steps taken to implement the proposed programmes and activities recommended by the UNSG’s Study on VAC.

This report also discusses the general legal framework for protecting children from all forms of VAC and protecting children from violence in schools and in emergency situations. It also includes a review of independent national institutions for the rights of the child and safe reporting and complaint mechanisms as well as the management of VAC data systems in the Arab region. Finally, the Secretariat of the League of Arab States expresses its thanks and appreciation to Dr. Elie Mekhael, the lead expert, the UNICEF Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa and Ms. Marta Santos Pais, SRSG on Violence Against Children for the effort exerted in preparing this report."