“Every day, millions of children are affected by conflict, suffer from violence, neglect, abuse and exploitation at home, in schools, in institutions, in the community and in places where they work. These situations are not inevitable and they can be effectively prevented,” the experts said in a call to mark Universal Children’s Day on 20 November.
The post-2015 framework is a renewed opportunity to ensure that children’s rights are front and centre in the global development agenda to effectively prevent and address violence against children and fight impunity for crimes committed against them.
“To achieve sustainable development, protecting children from violence needs to be a priority and a cross-cutting concern in the post 2015 agenda,” the five experts stressed.
Countries affected by violence tend to lag behind, with higher levels of poverty and malnutrition, poor health and school performance and special risks for vulnerable children including those who migrate or belong to minorities. Violence is often associated with poor rule of law and a culture of impunity. It has far-reaching costs for society, slowing economic development and eroding nations’ human and social capital.
“The post-2015 development agenda should address inequalities that heighten the risks of violence, abuse and exploitation of children. Governments should meet their obligation to protect children from violence,” the experts emphasised.
“The post-2015 agenda should include a strategic goal and indicators on child protection to prevent and address all forms of violence against girls and boys, and to bring to justice those responsible for these acts, including physical and emotional violence, child sexual abuse and exploitation and the recruitment of children in armed conflict. Without freedom from violence, sustainable development cannot be fully achieved,” the experts added.
“We urge national governments and the international community to support this process and to provide adequate resources to protect children from violence, abuse and exploitation, in development and emergency situations. Inclusive, sustainable and duly funded child protection systems should be established in all countries, supported by sound investment in social protection programmes to address the root causes of child rights violations, to promote universal access to basic social services that help families care for and protect their children, and to safeguard the rights of children in need of assistance and alternative care,” they added.
(*) Kirsten Sandberg, Chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child; Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Violence against Children; Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict; Najat Maalla M’jid, UN Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography; and Susan Bissell, UNICEF’s Chief of Child Protection.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/crc.htm
The three Optional Protocols:
Source: SRSG on Violence against Children