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Papua New Guinea launches national campaign to end violence against children

© UNICEF PNG/Alcock/2014
A young student pledges her support to end violence against children at the launch event.

Port Moresby, 18 June 2014 Papua New Guinea today joined global efforts to address violence against children by launching a national campaign aimed at leveraging support and amplifying in-country efforts already underway to end violence against children.

The ‘End Violence against Children’ campaign started by UNICEF as a global initiative builds on the growing consensus that violence against children can no longer be tolerated and that serious attention and collective action is required to reduce violence against children.

“All too often, violence is hidden in the shadows. Too many people turn a blind eye. And far too many children lack the confidence and the means to speak out, to tell a trusted adult, to find a safe space,” stressed the Assistant Secretary to the United Nations and UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, Yoka Brandt, who participated in the launch event and is currently visiting Papua New Guinea.

Ms. Brandt said we must all begin by shining a light on violence and speaking up no matter where it occurs.

“This is at the very heart of the End Violence campaign launched last year in July – a campaign that is rapidly growing into a global movement. International political will have never been stronger. Today, nearly 70 countries and hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life have joined the call. They are speaking up and are taking action to end violence against children by making the invisible visible,” Ms. Brandt added.

 Acting Secretory for the Department for Community Development and Religion, Ms. Anna Solomon said that “addressing the issue of violence against children is the responsibility of every one and called for whole of government approach to address the issue of violence against children”. The Acting Secretory said “all government departments, civil society organizations and faith based organizations should collaborate for PNG to be a wealthy, healthy, happy nation that is free from violence.

Many children in PNG experience some form of violence that threatens their safety, well-being and opportunity for development. About 7 out of 10 children experience physical violence; 8 out of 10 experience emotional violence; 5 out of ten experience some form of sexual violence[1] and 5 in 10 children feel unsafe in their communities[2]. Additionally, 4 out of 10 youth grow up witnessing family violence and experiencing its negative effects[3].

This year-long campaign is a collaborative effort by the Government – Departments of Community Development and Department of National Planning, PNG Coalition of Child Rights, a prominent and influential rights-based entity and UNICEF, that will not only raise public awareness on the scale and impact of violence against Papua New Guinean children but more importantly, encourage action by families, communities and government towards reducing violence against children.

The campaign is promoting key messages for children who experience violence to tell someone they trust. Parents are being encouraged to do unto their children what they would have others do unto them. The campaign appeals to neighbors and the general public to speak up and not walk away when they see violence against children and further calls on the government to invest in child protection.

What cannot remain invisible, though, are our efforts to address violence in national development strategies. I cannot stress enough, as we have learned from so many countries worldwide, the importance of placing the protection of children from violence at the centre of the national development agenda,” Ms. Brandt reiterated.

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About UNICEF
UNICEF works in more than 190 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 more information about UNICEF and its work visit: <http://www.unicef.org>.

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For further information, please contact:

Noreen Chambers, Communication Officer; nchambers@unicef.org


[1] Medical Research Institute. (1994). Goroka.

[2] UNICEF. (2001). Speaking Out – Voices of Children and Adolescents in East Asia and Pacific. UNICEF EAPRO.

[3] UNDP & UN Habitat Report (2004) – Youth and Crime Survey in Port Moresby

 

 
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