Mr Palm's speech during the Regional Experts Meeting in the context of the EU-UNICEF project "Protecting children from violence in South East Europe" held in Tirana from 12 to 13 November 2013
The meeting comes at the end of a two-year regional EU-UNICEF intervention, that was meant to strengthen partnerships between civil society organizations and State decision-makers to better identify, monitor and address violence against children.
Violence against children is not only a human rights violation in itself. Violence prevents a determined and forceful move towards full respect of human rights – because violence instills fear; violence intimidates; the threat of violence prevents victims from sharing their views and seeking justice. If we want to move towards a more definite human rights culture, we have to prevent and prohibit and take action against those who solve their issues with violence.
Many countries, including Albania have a very good constitution or legislation, talking well about values, obligations, accountability. Of course can always be made more perfect. But as in many other countries, we often hear that good legislation has not been sufficiently enforced or implemented. Prosecutors have not been prosecuting, judges have not been conscious enough in their judgments. Budgets have not been allocated. There are few people who speak out against violence. And all this is because we live in a society that sometimes tends to be very traditional, where tolerance of violence is still high.
Not any society can be immune against violence, but the public outcry is bigger and louder in some countries than in others. In part of this region – including Albania - violence is more tolerated as a way of life, even if the majority of people do not like it this way. As with so many taboo themes, the best strategy is to talk about it. To make it visible. So that nobody can say that he hasn’t seen or didn’t know.
The strategy of Government to name the issue, to talk about problems rather than sweeping them under the carpet, is very good. Problems can be solved when we know they exist. And since this conference is about violence against children, I am sure the experts can find an agreement on what works and what needs to be done.