SRSG CALLS FOR ENDING VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES – IMPORTANCE OF SECURE, PROTECTIVE ENVIRONMENT
13/09/2012 – SRSG Santos Pais participated in a roundtable discussion on children with disabilities during the fifth session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, alongside with Government representatives, namely Ms. Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, Deputy Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities of South Africa, UNICEF and civil society representatives.
In her presentation, SRSG Santos Pais stressed the very widespread pattern of violence endured by children with disabilities, acknowledged positive and encouraging progress in preventing and addressing incidents of violence and highlighted strategic recommendations for future action.
Ms. Santos Pais identified five key areas to secure a protective environment for children around the world including investing in early childhood development and education; promoting public awareness, capacity building of professionals working with and for children, enacting in all countries strong legislation to ban all forms of violence against children, including within the home, and universal ratification and effective implementation of core human rights treaties including the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure, adopted in December 2011 by the General Assembly.
Moreover, SRSG Santos Pais recognized the decisive contribution children and young people can make to this process of change.
“We should work together to put in place the right conditions to enable children with disabilities to participate and act as real partners in our important reflections in future sessions of this important conference of States Parties.”
Message from SRSG on Violence against Children on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples
09/08/2012 – The past years have been marked by a strengthening of the rights of indigenous peoples, including the rights of indigenous children. Together with other international standards, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols remain a crucial reference in this regard. The new third Optional Protocol to the Convention on a Communications Procedure will allow children to bring complaints to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. With this new instrument children, just like adults, will have an access to international human rights bodies.
The Protocol has a special significance for indigenous children since it strengthens their ability to seek justice in case of violation of their rights, including when incidents of violence take place.
Despite these important developments, the gap between international human rights instruments and their implementation remains wide and challenging. Still too often, indigenous children live in extreme poverty, suffer from poor health and face inequalities in accessing and enjoying education. Moreover, indigenous children are oftennot covered by birth registration efforts. These conditions make them highly vulnerable to violence, abuse and exploitation. Exposure to violence, marginalization and social exclusion erodes their identity and sense of self-esteem and compromises their ability to seek advice and benefit from services of quality.
The United Nations Study on Violence against Children urged all States to promote non-violent values and awareness-raising, and to promote change in attitudes and behaviour that condone violence, perpetuate stereotypes and allow discrimination against children. I see a great potential in indigenous media in promoting the protection of indigenous children from violence; at home, in schools, places where children work, institutions and communities, as well as in our societies at large. Indeed, international instruments have little meaning if children, their families and people working with and for them are not aware of children’s rights and the available means to protect them. Indigenous media can help fill this information gap!
Let’s work together to create a sustainable environment for indigenous media and build a better world for indigenous children!