Launch of the United Nations Secretary-General's study on Violence Against Children
Tolerance of everyday violence against children must end!YANGON, 19 October 2006 – Today UNICEF and the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement in collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Save the Children launched the UN Secretary General’s Study on Violence against Children at the Nikko Hotel. This launch is timed to coincide with the Regional Launch of this report in Bangkok today.
The UN Secretary-General’s Study is the first to provide a comprehensive global view of the range and scale of everyday violence against children. It combines child rights, public health and child protection perspectives in five different settings where abuse occurs: the home and family, schools and educational settings, institutions (care and judicial) the workplace and the community.
The aim of the Study is to provide an in-depth global picture of the violence that children today are facing, and call to action for improvement of legislation, policies and programmes relating to the prevention and responses to violence against children.
The study’s findings, informed by consultations, questionnaires and interviews were enriched by the participation of children who made key contributions by helping to understand the various forms of violence and its effects upon them.
The study noted that power relations between children and adults, deeply embedded hierarchal traditions and gender inequality contribute to the physical and psychological violence against children. It also observed that - children with disabilities, children belonging to minority groups or living on the streets, children in conflict with the law and those who are refugees or displaced from their homes are particularly vulnerable to violence.
Violence against children happens everywhere and it is acknowledged that much needs to be done in the South East Asian Region to stop this horrible crime. According to Speaking Out!, a 2001 UNICEF survey of children in East Asia and the Pacific, almost one quarter of the young respondents reported that their parents beat them when they did something wrong. A 2005 Save the Children survey conducted in eight countries cited hair pulling, ear twisting, pinching, smacking, beating, burning and verbal assaults – plus a high level of kicking and punching – as common forms of punishment.
The UN Study calls for a wide range of actions to be taken to prevent and respond to violence against children across all settings where it occurs. Twelve overarching recommendations address areas such as national strategies and systems, data collection and ensuring accountability. Member states, of which Myanmar is one, will have to report their progress to the General Assembly in 2009.
Following the official launch in Myanmar, a workshop on Violence against Children is being conducted with participants and staff from Government Ministries, UN Agencies, national and international NGOs and community-based organisations. This Workshop aims to formulate and develop strategies to raise public awareness on Violence against Children and identify possible responses to prevent and respond to violence against children in Myanmar.
During the two day Myanmar workshop, international experts and national resource persons will provide participants with global regional and local perspectives on Violence against Children, and the group will explore the current situation in Myanmar. The workshop will result in a set of recommended strategies to strengthen the responses to protect children in Myanmar from violence.
UNICEF Representative in Myanmar, Mr Ramesh Shrestha said ‘Violence against children is not inevitable. It cannot ever be justified and it can and must be prevented.’
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that every child has the right to protection from all forms of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. Myanmar ratified the Convention in 1991.