MEXICO CITY, 19 April 2007 – Two studies aimed at preventing and eliminating all forms of violence against children have been launched in Mexico, where at least two children under the age of 15 are thought to die as a result of violence each day. The UN Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children and the Mexican National Report on Violence and Health, have been launched by UNICEF, The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Pan-American Health Organisation (OPS), UNESCO and the Mexican Ministry of Health.
The studies make a strong call to governmental institutions and society as a whole to take urgent action to tackle this problem “For many children in Mexico, the violation of their right to protection against abuse and violence is a daily occurrence,” said UNICEF’s Representative in Mexico, Daniel Camazón. “It is clear that the violence they suffer at home, at school and in the community and the violence which exists in society are directly linked, because these are the places where children learn how to deal with conflict. Banning corporal punishment in schools would be an important step forward in this context. We must stop passing on violence from generation to generation: it presents a serious obstacle to democratic and economic progress in Mexico and we must build a more stable and just society.
“For this reason, we are happy to announce the signing of the Statement of Commitment by the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Public Education and DIF (the national social welfare system). The statement commits these institutions to following up the recommendations of both studies.”
The National Report concludes that thousands of children and young people in Mexico grow up in a context of everyday violence which has long-lasting consequences and ends hundreds of young lives every year. Most of this violence, which includes physical, sexual, psychological violence as well as discrimination and neglect, is hidden and sometimes socially condoned. The high levels of violence in Mexico, and in Latin America and the Caribbean generally, are often linked to extreme economic and social inequalities and to the “machista” culture.
The Mexican National Report on Violence and Health presents a set of recommendations about how best to tackle violence against children in Mexico. These include drafting a national plan of action to prevent all forms of violence, strictly monitoring compliance with national laws and international treaties which protect children and young people from all forms of violence, as well as improving coverage and quality of services for children who have been victims of violence.
The UN Secretary-General’s Study documents the nature and impact of violence against children and young people on a global scale in five settings: the family, schools, the community, institutions (detention and protective), and the workplace. According to the study, Latin America and the Caribbean are the most violent regions in the world. The murder rate per 100,000 inhabitants among men between 15-17 years-old is 37.66 compared with 15.64 in Africa and 5.72 in Europe.
The UN Secretary-General’s Study presents general and specific recommendations which call for immediate action. They are primarily aimed at governments who must take action with the support of UN agencies, civil society organizations, regional organizations, professional and community associations, parents and children themselves. The Study recommends that governments establish a national strategy to prevent and combat violence, appoint a high-ranking minister to be responsible for coordinating and improving data collection of violence against children. The study calls for governmental institutions to prioritize banning all forms of violence against children, including corporal punishment. The Study emphasizes that children’s participation is essential for designing effective prevention strategies and protection and rehabilitation services.
“No form of violence against children is justified and all forms of violence can be prevented. Every country can and must put an end to violence against children. This does not mean simply punishing the perpetrators, but also transforming society’s mentality and the underlying economic and social conditions which are linked to violence,” said Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, the Independent Expert who led the Secretary-General’s Study.
About UNICEF UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For further information, please contact: