Annual report to the Human Rights Council - 2017


I. Introduction

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.

3. The Special Representative remains strongly committed to accelerating progress in the protection of children from violence and to seizing the unique opportunity presented by the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The inclusion in the 2030 Agenda of a distinct target, target 16.2, to eliminate all forms of violence against children is an historic achievement that can galvanize political will and reignite action to build a world free from fear and from violence for all, leaving no child behind.

4. Over the past year, the Special Representative has promoted important processes and mobilization initiatives to strengthen the protection of children from violence around the world with national authorities, United Nations agencies, regional organizations, non-governmental and faith-based organizations, the private sector and the media, as well as child-led networks. The year was marked by the adoption of several regional plans of action to prevent and eliminate violence against children and the promotion of significant partnerships to mobilize support for their protection. At the national level, important progress was made with the enactment of new legislation to ban violence in all its forms, the adoption of policy frameworks to guide implementation, and the further consolidation of data and research to inform evidence-based action.

5. The year was also marked by the adoption by the World Health Assembly of resolution WHA69.5, in which the Assembly endorsed the World Health Organization (WHO) global plan of action to strengthen the role of the health system within a national multisectoral response to address interpersonal violence, in particular against women and girls, and against children. WHO also released INSPIRE, a package of evidence-based strategies to prevent and respond to violence against children. Furthermore, a global study led by ECPAT-End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking in Children for Sexual Purposes was issued to shed light on and reinforce collective efforts for the protection of children from sexual exploitation in travel and tourism. And the Terminology Guidelines for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, adopted by an inter-agency working group meeting in Luxembourg, were released to provide conceptual clarity to actions aimed at the protection of children, close legal loopholes and address misinterpretations that may put their safety at risk.

6. Protection of children online remained high on the agenda of the Special Representative. In this regard, she continued to support important multi-stakeholder initiatives, including the WePROTECT Global Alliance to End Child Sexual Exploitation WePROTECT has secured high-level commitments from Governments, the information and communications technology industry, international organizations and civil society. It supports comprehensive national action on prevention and response to inform and empower children and to fight impunity within and across borders. (...)