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Special Representative to the UN Secretary General on Violence against Children Ms Marta Santos Pais met with UNICEF during her visit to Russia

MOSCOW, Russian Federation, 16 November 2011 - In her first official visit to the Russian Federation as Special Representative to the UN Secretary General (UNSRSG) on Violence against Children, Marta Santos Pais met with the UN agencies and the UNICEF Representation in Moscow.

At the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Santos Pais also met with Russian ministries, Duma representatives, the Ombudsperson for Children's Rights under the President of the Russian Federation, as well as foundations, NGOs and academics to promote progress in the country's response to violence against children and encourage the ratification of key international children’s rights instruments.

In their meeting, Santos Pais and UNICEF Representative Bertrand Bainvel discussed how the UN and more specifically the UNSRSG's Office and UNICEF could best make use of opportunities to consolidate current initiatives and innovations implemented by Russian counterparts to better protect children from violence.

During the meeting special attention was given to the protection of groups of children who are at particularly high risk of violence, including children living in residential care, placed in detention centres, and living in the streets. Discussions also focused on the risk of violence associated with discrimination against children in migration, and efforts needed to promote tolerance in schools and the society at large. The high rates of suicide among adolescents was also a source of concern, requiring a response at the highest level.

Among key strategies in violence prevention, Santos Pais emphasized the need to further raise awareness of the principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) among the public, families and parents as well children themselves. The sensitization and capacity building of professionals dealing with children to detect and address incidents of violence, was equally highlighted. To advance this process, the UNSRSG and the UNICEF Representation discussed opportunities for the Russian Federation to develop a federal plan on children and violence and the establishment of an observatory on violence against women and children.

Both the UN SRSG and the UNICEF Representative emphasized the importance of the ratification by the Russian Federation of the UN CRC Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, the Hague Convention on inter-country adoption and Council of Europe instruments on violence-related topics. These would help guide the development of national policies and laws, strategies, and monitoring mechanisms.

Also discussed was the opportunity to capitalize on Russian expertise, academics, researchers and good practices - such as the Russian network of ombudspersons for children's rights- to help other countries in the region to consolidate the protection of children from all forms of violence.



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