Parliamentarians strengthen their commitment to ensure a protective environment for children in the Asia-Pacific region
Geneva/Hanoi, 14 February 2006 - Exploitation, violence, prostitution, trafficking. Each year, millions of children in all regions of the world suffer abuses. The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the National Assembly of Vietnam are holding a regional seminar for legislators from across the Asia-Pacific region to discuss ways of using their powers to promote a protective framework for children.
As former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela said: "we owe our children - the most vulnerable citizens in any society - a life free from violence and fear". "This calls for the commitment of all actors of society, especially parliamentarians. They have a key role to play in ensuring that laws are passed at national level, international treaties are respected and budgets are adopted in order to secure that a real protective environment for children is created in all regions of the world", added the Secretary General of the IPU, Anders B. Johnsson.
"Creating a protective environment is the best way we can safeguard children from abuses", said UNICEF Regional Director Anupama Rao Singh. "It helps ensure that children are in school, laws are enforced to punish those who exploit children, governments are actively committed to protection and monitoring is in place to identify children at risk of exploitation".
UNICEF underlines the key aspects of a protective environment, which include attitudes, traditions, customs, behaviour and practices; governmental commitment to fulfil protection rights; discussion and engagement with child protection issues; children's life skills, knowledge and participation, as well as services for recovery and reintegration.
Parliamentarians from Australia, Cambodia, Canada, China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam, along with experts from Africa, Europe and Latin America have confirmed their presence in Hanoi, from 15 to 17 February 2006. They will discuss some of the more complex and pervasive child protection issues in the Asia-Pacific Region, particularly child trafficking and violence against children.
About the IPU: Established in 1889 and with its Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the IPU, the oldest multilateral political organization, currently brings together 143 affiliated parliaments and seven associated regional assemblies. It has an Office in New York which acts as its Permanent Observer at the United Nations. IPU Website: www.ipu.org
About UNICEF: For 60 years UNICEF has been the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 155 countries to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for poor 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.UNICEF website: http://www.unicef.org/
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UNICEF: Mrs. Caroline Den Dulk, Communication Officer. Tel.: (84-4) 942 5715 or 091 239 0153, E-mail: email@example.com