SRSG-VAC Congratulates Government of Chile on Creation of 'Ombudsperson for Children'


The Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children (SRSG-VAC), Marta Santos Pais, congratulates the Government of Chile for enacting legislation on 22 January 2018 which created the new position of ‘Ombudsperson for Children’. 

This new legislation, the design and promotion of which was done in collaboration with SRSG-VAC Marta Santos Pais, marks a critically important milestone towards a world free from the fear of violence against children.  

The Ombudsperson for Children, the first in Chile, will be an autonomous, independent, legal body with broad responsibilities, including its role to: receive, facilitate and disseminate the opinion and views of children; receive complaints from children about violations of their rights; and, act as a facilitator and mediator between State bodies, private institutions and children.

International Migrants Day: Transforming the Violence Continuum for Migrant Children into a Protection Continuum


“Through my work I have had the opportunity to listen to the ordeals of so many migrant and refugee children forced to flee their homes and countries due to violence,” says Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Violence against Children (SRSG-VAC). “Sadly, in too many cases, the violence they are trying to escape often accompanies them in different forms throughout their travels in search of safety.”

Every single minute, twenty people are forced to flee their homes as a result of violence, persecution or conflict. Many of these people are children. In fact, in 2016 children made up more than half the world’s total refugee population, with tens of thousands of girls and boys unaccompanied or separated from their families while on the move.

UN SRSG-VAC Participates in Launch of Cambodia’s Action Plan to Prevent and Respond to Violence Against Children


“Protecting children from violence is essential if we are to realize the vision of the Sustainable Development Agenda of a world free from fear and violence for all children,” said Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Violence against Children (SRSG-VAC), in her keynote address to launch Cambodia’s first ever Action Plan to Prevent and Respond to Violence against Children.

SRSG joins launch of Cambodia Action Plan to prevent and respond to violence against children


In her second visit to Cambodia, SRSG Santos Pais participated in the launch of the first ever Action Plan aiming at the protection of children from all forms of violence. The Action Plan was informed by a comprehensive data survey launched in 2014, the first conducted in the region, and is the fruit of cross-sectoral cooperation involving all departments of government, civil society organizations, religious leaders, as well as children themselves, and with the strong support of UNICEF.

Human rights start with children’s rights


It is essential that human rights standards guide action, especially when children are at risk and when situations of violence can undermine their wellbeing and development. By investing in children’s rights, social progress and peace are within reach for all, stresses SRSG Santos Pais marking Human Rights Day. 


International human rights law provides a firm foundation to guide States in preventing and addressing all forms of violence against children. With the Convention on the Rights of the Child in force across regions, nations have a solid framework to address current and emerging manifestations of the neglect, abuse and exploitation of children.

World Internet Conference - legislation is key to protecting children from online abuse and exploitation


At the 4th World Internet Conference held in Wuzhen, China, SRSG Santos Pais took centre-stage to bring attention to the critical role of legislation in preventing and combating children’s online abuse and exploitation drawing on international experience.  “In a field where technology advances very rapidly it is critical to keep legislative measures under constant review to address emerging concerns. But it is also crucial to supplement laws with effective enforcement and other measures such as awareness-raising, education, and capacity-building initiatives to prevent violence against children online” Santos Pais stressed. 

General Assembly resolution on the Rights of the Child highlights children’s protection from violence


“The focus on violence against children in this year’s resolution is an encouraging reaffirmation of States’ solemn commitment to the protection of children’s rights” said SRSG Santos Pais in welcoming the adoption by the General Assembly of the 2017 resolution on the Rights of the Child. “The resolution calls for all necessary measures to prevent and address violence against children in all its forms to be put in place, and recognizes the detrimental impact it has on the enjoyment of children’s rights. The resolution urges accelerated progress towards the elimination of all forms of violence against children by 2030 as specified in SDG target 16.2”, added Santos Pais.

“Children on the move have rights too – joint statement marking the 28th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child”


Geneva/New York, 20 November – On Universal Children’s Day, UN child rights experts[1] call on all Governments to safeguard the rights of children on the move.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most widely ratified human rights treaty and is further strengthened by its three Optional Protocols on the involvement of children in armed conflict; the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography; and on a communications procedure.

Special Representative on violence against children pleads for the end of cycle of neglect and abuse against refugee and migrant children


On a three-day visit to Greece, Special Representative Santos Pais met with children living in a refugee camp in Athens, from whom she heard painful as well as inspiring stories of courage and resilience. The visit was organized in the framework of a meeting of European Independent Children’s Rights Institutions, held in Athens to identify challenges and provide recommendations for future action to ensure the safeguard of refugee and migrant children across Europe.

Children should not be deprived of liberty and policies should be informed by their voices and experience


SRSG Santos Pais participated as a keynote speaker in the 11th European Forum on the Rights of the Child: Children deprived of their liberty and alternatives to detention, held in Brussels 7-8 November, where she stressed the importance of hearing the voices and recommendations of children when these challenging issues are considered.

"Children deprived of liberty are among the most forgotten and left behind in society and it is crucial to engage the support of all actors for their increased care and protection. Preventing and responding urgently to this serious and often neglected situation is a legal and human rights imperative; and it is critical for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals" the SRSG added.

In her statement at the Forum, SRSG Santos País pointed to the need to prevent the deprivation of liberty of children in the first place and focused on the special risks faced by girls.