|UN report urges action to stop violence against children||20 October 2006|
Ayyamma, 18, lives in the slums of Bangalore, India. She has been working since she was eight, when she had to drop out of school after her father died. Today she is an advocate for the rights of working children. She travelled to New York last week to participate in the launch of the UN Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children.
“In the place I live, violence is a daily occurrence,” said Ayyamma. “In my opinion, beating up a child is the worst form of violence.”
The Secretary-General’s study shows that millions of young people like Ayyamma around the world are being subjected to the worst forms of abuse, with little or no protection. The report concludes that violence happens everywhere, is usually inflicted by a person known to the child and is almost invariably hidden or left unpunished.
UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman called it a landmark study. “Children are at the heart of the Millennium Development Goals” on reducing poverty worldwide, said Ms. Veneman. “In working to achieve these goals, it’s crucial that children are protected against violence.”
The report involved thousands of consultations with governments, non-governmental organizations, experts and most important, children themselves. It examines the problem in five settings – the home, schools, institutions, at work and in the community.
“Children continue to fear and experience violence in every country of the world,” said Professor Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, the independent expert who led the study. “Violence cuts across all social, cultural, religious and ethnic lines.”
States must take primary responsibility for preventing abuses by providing a robust legal framework, the report asserts.“That means prohibiting all forms of violence against children whenever it occurs and whoever is the perpetrator,” said Professor Pinheiro.
On hand for the release of the study at the United Nations on 12 October were representatives from a range of children’s charities, NGOs and UN agencies, including the World Health Organization, which provided much of the research.
Ayyamma and other children who contributed their viewpoints to the report were also there, emphasizing by their presence that the international community has a duty to ensure every child’s right to a life free from violence.
For every child
Here are other links that you may be interested in:
Pakistan, one year later
UNICEF Radio wins awards
UNICEF now offers two RSS feeds: UNICEF News, with the latest stories from our homepage; and UNICEF Photo Essays, featuring images from around the world. Find out more.