UN child rights committee and UN Special Representative on Violence against Children condemn Shafqat Hussein execution


GENEVA/NEW YORK (5 August 2015) – The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children have condemned the execution in Pakistan of Shafqat Hussein, who was reportedly 14 years old when he was convicted of murder.

“The execution of Shafqat Hussein is regrettable and in flagrant contravention of Pakistan’s national and international obligations,” said Committee Chair Benyam Dawit Mezmur.

“This execution is deeply saddening and goes against Pakistan’s commitments to children’s rights. Pakistan was one of the main supporters of the World Summit for Children in 1990, and was amongst the first states to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” said Special Representative Marta Santos Pais.

Children’s protection from violence gains further ground with legislative developments in Africa and Europe to ensure conformity with international and regional human rights standards


SRSG welcomes amendments to Malawi’s Constitution banning marriage before the age of 18 andto Lithuania’s Law on the Fundamentals of Protection of the Rights of the Child prohibiting corporal punishment against children
Globally, Malawi is among the countries with the highest rates of child marriage in the world. Recent data shows nearly 1 in 2 girls are married before age 18, with debilitating and often long-term consequences, including increased risk of suffering violence and abuse and compromising their right to education and health.
In February 2015, the Government of Malawi enacted the Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Act (MDFRA). The act banned marriage for any person below the age of 18 but legal exceptions remained foreseen in the Malawian Constitution, which allowed 15-17 year olds to marry upon parental consent.

SRSG calls for accelerated action to bring an end to school violence and bullying


Participating in the International Symposium School Violence and Bullying: From Evidence to Action, held in Seoul, 17 - 19 January, SRSG Santos Pais welcomed the increasing awareness and commitment to protect children from school violence and to enhance action for the prevention and elimination of bullying.

SRSG celebrates the historic global commitment to end violence against children


On Sunday, 2 August, the Member States of the United Nations agreed the final text of “Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, the post 2015 outcome document for adoption at the UN Summit in September in New York. The vision in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of “a world free of fear and violence”, and the significant new goals and targets towards ending all forms of violence against children are a rallying call to urgent action.   

Financing for Development requires move in resources from billions to trillions - savings from ending violence against children will be a crucial contribution


Addis Ababa, 13 July 2015 - SRSG Santos Pais co-hosted with Unicef an event at the Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where a Global Partnership and associated Fund to end violence against children was announced. This new initiative seeks to mobilize the resources needed to deliver on Target 16.2 of the Sustainable Development Agenda (SDG) to “End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children.”

The Global Partnership is expected to mobilize wide cross regional support for the implementation of the SDGs related to violence against children, and a vehicle to galvanize greater investment in solutions to reduce violence in the lives of children, as well as to generate new and greater funding.

Marta Santos Pais urges Panama to guarantee the rights of children and to consolidate children’s protection from violence

Marta Santos Pais urges Panama to guarantee the rights of children

On 9-10 July, during her official visit to Panama, SRSG Marta Santos Pais met with high level national authorities to discuss progress achieved by the Government of Panama to safeguard the rights of children and young people.

SRSG Santos Pais met with the Minister of Social Development, Alcibíades Vásquez, Deputy Minister of Government, Maria Luisa Romero, Deputy Minister of Multilateral Affairs and Cooperation, María Luisa Navarro, amongst other government officials in regards to the developments achieved in the juvenile justice system in the country, as well as in relation to the drafting process of a comprehensive national legal framework for the protection of children and adolescents.

SRSG Santos Pais concludes a two-day international consultation on the Protection of Children from Armed Violence in the Community


The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Violence against Children, in cooperation with UNICEF and the Government of Honduras, convened an International Expert Consultation on Children’s Right to Protection from Armed Violence in the Community. Held in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, the meeting gathered representatives from national governments, UN agencies, regional organizations, research institutions and civil society; as well as children and young people.

SRSG hosts 5th Cross-Regional Roundtable on the Protection of Children from Violence with Representatives from regional organisations and institutions

5th Cross-Regional Roundtable on the Protection of Children from Violence

Joining hands with the Council of Europe, SRSG Santos Pais held in Strasbourg (France), on 18 and 19 June, the 5th Cross-Regional Roundtable to promote accelerated progress in the prevention and elimination of violence against children around the world.

Acting as a bridge-builder between regions, SRSG Santos Pais convenes each year a Cross-Regional Meeting on violence against children with representatives from regional organisations and institutions. This important annual forum provides a strategic platform to assess progress achieved, reflect on trends and common concerns, and identify opportunities for cross-regional cooperation.

SRSG Santos Pais message on the occasion of the Day of the African Child

SRSG Santos Pais message on the occasion of the Day of the African Child

25 years after the adoption of the African Children’s Charter, millions of children, particularly girls, continue to suffer from many forms of violence, including harmful practices such as child, early and forced marriage. As we all know, this practice has devastating consequences on the child’s life, health, development, education and protection.

SRSG Santos Pais welcomes the first International Albinism Awareness Day


New York, 13 June 2015 - SRSG Santos Pais joins other partners in welcoming the first International Albinism Awareness Day, which is celebrated today.

“I warmly welcome this recognition by the UN General Assembly to devote a special day to raise awareness on persons with albinism.”

The lives of children with albinism are surrounded by neglect and abuse, stigma, marginalization, discrimination, prejudice, superstitions and misconceptions simply because of their genetic condition andbecause they look different. Discrimination condemns these children to a position of extreme vulnerability, and to tolerance of violence against them in many countries in the world.