|UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Rima Salah listens to a comment at a press conference.|
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, 11 March 2005 - In a speech delivered here today to the Caribbean Regional Consultation on Violence against Children, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Rima Salah underlined the vital importance of listening to young people in order to deal with the problem of violence.
“The impact of violence on the lives of children is a blemish on the face of nations in all parts of the world – rich and poor countries, in the South and the North,” she said.
Ms. Salah pointed out that the creation and strengthening of a protective environment is the key for children’s ongoing protection. “We have a duty and obligation to ensure that the rights of all children are fulfilled by eliminating violence from their lives,” said Ms. Salah.
In her remarks, Ms. Salah also said that local consultations and sharing experiences across communities are the first steps in the cooperative search for solutions. “There is no doubt that the solutions must come from within – they cannot be transplanted – but equally, it is unlikely that any community can overcome these challenges without opening up to the experiences of others,” she said.
Ms. Salah noted that the presence and participation of young people was the most important element in the collective voice on this issue. Thirty-five young people drawn from across the Caribbean were among the 150 participants at Caribbean Regional Consultation. This event was the first of the nine regional consultations to be held worldwide, in order to gather information for the United Nations-led Study on Violence Against Children.
The study, mandated by the UN General Assembly, seeks to bring together knowledge to help understand, reduce and prevent violence against children. There is a particular emphasis on ensuring that the views and experiences of young people inform the study and its final report, which is to be published in 2006.