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Calls to end violence against children made at groundbreaking South Asia meeting

ISLAMABAD/ 19 May 2005 -  The first regional meeting dealing exclusively with violence against children ever to be  held in South Asia is opening amid calls for countries in the region to do more to prevent physical and psychological harm to young people. More than 165 people, including delegates from all governments in the region, staff from UN agencies and child care agencies, are taking part in the three day meeting as part of the global consultation for the UN Secretary General’s Study on Violence against Children.

The meeting is due to be opened by Pakistan’s First Lady, Begum Sebha Pervez Musharraf, who is expected to welcome this initiative to discuss issues affecting so many children in the region.

The Global Consultation calls for reports to focus on how children are affected by violence in five settings; the home and family, schools and other institutions, work situations, the community and on the streets. The South Asia contribution to the consultation process will highlight specific issues of gender related violence, child sexual abuse and physical and psychological punishment.  

UNICEF’s Regional Director, Cecilia Lotse said, ‘This meeting is extremely important and comes at a time when there is more knowledge about abuses that used to go unseen. We all have to take up the challenge. We know many children in South Asia are extremely vulnerable and that a beaten child is a damaged child who may be killed, maimed, or psychologically damaged for the rest of their lives. Underlying so much of what is going on in South Asia is gender discrimination and inequality affecting children.’

The meeting was proceeded by a two day meeting of children from across the region who will present their views to all those participating in the consultation, including Prof. Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, the Secretary General’s Independent Expert for the global study.

Representatives from the governments of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are expected to contribute to the consultation process.

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For further information, please contact:
Martin Dawes, UNICEF Regional Communication Officer, (in Islamabad) 00 92 51 111 22 33 44 x 143

Katey Grusovin, UNICEF ROSA South Asia Media Hub, C/- UNICEF New Delhi, Direct line: +91 (0) 11 24606247, UNICEF New Delhi switchboard: +91 (0) 11 24690401  xtn 247, Cell: +91 9810530715, kgrusovin@unicef.org

Binita Shah Khadka, Asst. Communication Officer, UNICEF ROSA, Cell + 977- 9851074260, bshah@unicef.org




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