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One Voice for Childhood

Social Awareness Campaign against Violence towards girls, boys, and adolescents, “One Voice for Childhood”

I. Background

One of the main problems affecting boys, girls and adolescents, is related to the violation of the right to protection from all forms of violence, exploitation and abuse, including, sexual trade, trafficking and child labor. There exist other situations which increase risk and vulnerability of both little boys and girls, such as lack of proper parental care, and law-related conflict.

Art. 19 of the International Convention on Children’s Rights, it is stated that it is the “obligation of the States Parties to adopt all legislative measures, as well as administrative, social, and educative, proper to protect the child against all forms of prejudice or physical and mental abuse, negligence or abandon, exploitation, including sexual abuse, whilst the child is under parental custody, legal guardianship, or under the care of any other person responsible.

Likewise on Art. 39, it is also stated that it is the obligation of the States to take the proper measures to ensure that the most vulnerable children receive proper treatment that guarantees their recuperation and reinsertion to an environment that promotes health, self respect and dignity of the child.

The Dominican Republic, as a signing party of this Convention since 1991, has carried out paramount efforts in adapting the legal framework to the mandates established in the Children’s Rights Convention (CDN), and in the Optional Protocol of the Convention, related to the selling of children, child prostitution, and the utilization of children in pornography, ratified by the nation in 2005.

Law 136-03 or Code for the System of Protection of the Fundamental Rights of Children and Adolescents, establishes the concepts, roles and responsibilities for protection of children and adolescents. One of the most relevant aspects of this system is that the same defines the operating mechanisms for protection, attention, reinsertion and assurance of the rights of this part of the population.
However, despite the achieved progress, the concern is greater each time due to the ostensible increase in violation to children’s rights in the country, including violence against children and adolescents, which can be carried out in different contexts and by different actors: families, schools, boroughs, communities and institutions, and it is also worrisome the weakness response-wise at an institutional level before the already existing cases.

One of the threats against Children’s Rights is the usage of violence in all its forms: physical, psychological and sexual, including sexual exploitation and trade of children (ESC) defined as the use of children and adolescents for the sexual gratification of adults in exchange for compensation in money or merchandise to third parties. It constitutes a form of coactions and violence against children, and it is also considered a contemporary form of slavery.

The irregular migration, trafficking and trading of underage persons is another serious threat to the compliance of Children’s Rights. The quest for better life conditions motivates Haitian families to move around or send their children to Dominican Republic. Amid the process of migration, arrival, and permanence in the country, the vulnerability conditions in children and adolescents is quite alarming.

Child Labor is defined as that which threatens the right to an education and forces children into situations of abuse and exploitation. It is considered that they are in condition of child labor exploitation when children below the age of 12 are already involved in activities of economic compensation, and children comprised between the ages of 12 and 14yrs whom perform dangerous tasks. The worst forms of child labor according to Coven 138 are those extremely risky to the life and physical as well as mental integrity of children, be it by nature itself or the conditions under which these are developed (nocturnal, risky street labor, agricultural work with the use of chemicals, fireworks sales).

Another issue that has generated much concern due to lack of protection which translates to the treatment given to youths in conflict with the law, is that according to the existing legislations, these should not be submitted to the same penal laws as adults, since they are still persons undergoing development and need be given more opportunities to be reeducated and socially reinserted.

II. Campaign Objectives

“Una voz por la niñez” (* in English “A Voice for Childhood), is described as a social movement aiming to sensitize and educate Dominican society regarding the reality of violence against children and adolescents nationwide, seeking to transform Dominican society into a stage of change.
It requires all society to move alongside, for ending violence against children and adolescents requires commitment from all.

III. Specific Objectives

• “Una voz por la niñez” is a calling to UNICEF’s work,that seeks to sensitize, educate and transform Dominican society into a stage of change, showing the world that Dominicans are part of the problem, but also want to be part of the solution.

• In that tenor, Una Voz Por la Niñez seeks to demand the government assume a public commitment  alongside organisms and responsable organizations in the creation and development of an effective system of denunciation and follow-up of the various different cases of child violence.

• Society is responsible and needs to know the incidence and reality of these grave violations to the rights of underage persons. It is necessary also that organizations provide a response, where Zero Tolerance exists against violence towards children and adolescents.

IV.  Campaign Development

The mobilization of  www.unavozporlaniñez.com calls to collect signatures to, throughout same, demand the government and organisms to be responsable in respects to “Zero Tolerance” against violence towards children and adolescents
The intention is to get involved in the development of an effective system for denunciation and follow-up to violence cases. It is proven by experience in other countries that the creation of this tool is the first step towards battling this sad reality.

The campaign “Una voz por la niñez” is structured and divided in three (3) phases:

a. Education and awareness:
Pursuant to showing the reality of violence against children and adolescents nationwide via numbers, with the intention of sensitizing the population regarding the issue. At the same time, it seeks to plant the seed towards becoming part of the global solution to the conflict.

b. Mobilization:
Via the website www.unavozporlaniñez.com, the population is called to voice out against violence committed where children and adolescents are victimized. These voices will be measured in great levels via the website, the same will be heard by the government and organisms at the closing of the campaign as a manifesto on behalf of Dominican society demanding the creation and development of a system of denunciation and follow-up; URGENT a tool in cases of violence against the nation’s children and youths.

c. Closure and result of mobilization: 
The campaign will close on the last week of October, with an artistic event at the Spanish Square (*known in Spanish as Plaza España), where said open event will serve as point of rendezvous for all the voices that joined the cause and supported the mobilization process, featuring the support of artists, local performers, and the most important actors starring in this event: the people that helped move this campaign onward.

The organization of such an event, will allow us to strengthen efforts and conclude quite strongly, the merger of all voices that joined the cause in an independent manner within massive space, thus converting myriad voices into one single voice, generating an impact that is not only noticeable but impressive, breaking away from the usual communications routine and moreover making the result public, as the result of a campaign protagonized not by Unicef or some organization, but by Dominican society, which wants to see the fruit of their efforts, key to everything.

V.  Intervention via social media:

As support to the campaign, a series of communication products has been designed targeted towards sensitizing and raising awareness regarding this problematic situation as is violence against children and adolescents and at the same time prevention against it. Part of these products already began making their appearance effective the 13th of September, date of the campaign launch to the media.

a. Website  www.unavozporlaniñez.com Website designed to inform about the Campaign and to account signatures of all interested in the movement.
b. Mass Media:
television, radio and press
c. Public access media:
Construction site , posters, digital ads, bridges and banners on public transportation (OMSA)
d. Printed Media:
Press, Exclusive magazines, life stories, public awareness action
e. Virtual Marketing:
Facebook, Twitter, SMS Messages
f. Private Sector Locations:
Tiendas Ilumel, Movie Theaters


For further information, please contact:
Patricia García, Communications Officer, UNICEF,
Ph. 809-473-7373 Ext. 364 Email: pgarcia@unicef.org

 

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