Protecting children (Millennium Declaration)

Keeping children safe

© UNICEF/HQ05-1928/LeMoyne
Keeping children safe from violence and abuse is central to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and fulfilling the aims of the Millennium Declaration.

The role of UNICEF is to mobilize partners towards the realization of children’s rights and to strengthen the will and capacities of governments to ensure children’s protection. UNICEF is either the hub of, or a key participant in, global-level partnerships, including the Inter-Agency Coordination Panel on Juvenile Justice; the Inter-Agency Working Group on Unaccompanied and Separated Children; the Donors’ Working Group on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting; the Better Care Network; the UN Study on Violence Against Children; and the Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s Task Force on Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in Humanitarian Crises and Task Force on Mental Health and Psychological Support in Emergency Settings.

In December 2005, UNICEF’s premier flagship publication, The State of the World’s Children 2006, underscored the importance of remembering those children most likely to miss out on progress towards the Millennium Development Goals: those who are excluded from essential goods and services and denied protection from exploitation and abuse.

Assessing situations and setting standards

At the regional level, UNICEF’s advocacy was evident in such forums as the African parliamentary conference on ‘Violence against women, abandoning female genital mutilation: the role of parliaments’ in Dakar (Senegal) in December 2005. In addition, partly due to UNICEF’s efforts, the Maputo Protocol to the African Charter of Human Rights that prohibits FGM/C entered into force in November. In preparation for the landmark UN Study on Violence Against Children, set for completion in late 2006, UNICEF – with the support of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the World Health Organization – facilitated a series of nine regional consultations.

In a major step forward for children associated with fighting forces, whether they are being used as soldiers, slaves, cooks or spies, in July 2005 the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution to identify and condemn fighting forces across the globe that recruit children and use them in any way. The Council also endorsed a monitoring and reporting mechanism proposed by the UN Secretary-General.