Ending violence against children is everybody’s responsibility
JUBA, South Sudan, 31 July 2013 – Violence against children is all too often unseen, unheard and underreported. Today, UNICEF is looking to change that with the launch of a global initiative “End Violence against Children”, which was unveiled with a public service announcement by actor and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Liam Neeson.
The initiative builds on the growing public outrage following gross attacks against children in recent months, including the shooting of then 14-year-old schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan, killing of 26 pupils and teachers in Connecticut, USA, and gang rapes of girls in India and in South Africa.
“In every country, in every culture, there is violence against children,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “Whenever and wherever children are harmed, our outrage and anger must be seen and heard. We must make the invisible visible.”
In the PSA, Mr. Neeson leads the viewer through a series of scenes depicting invisible violence. “Just because you can’t see violence against children doesn’t mean it isn’t there,” he says.
In South Sudan, children are continuously exposed to harmful social and cultural practices, such as child marriage, child abduction, child labour, the use of girls as compensation, scarification, teeth removal and corporal punishment in schools and homes are prevalent, and seen as normal practices by many communities.
The Child Act 2008, as well as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child prohibit subjecting children to negative and harmful practices that affect their health, welfare and dignity- Every child has the right to be protected from early marriage, forced circumcision, scarification, tattooing, piercing, tooth removal or any other cultural right, custom or traditional practice that is likely to affect the child’s life, health, welfare, dignity or physical, emotional, psychological, mental and intellectual development.
“When children are exposed to violence, not only are they left with physical wounds but also mental scars. This affects their physical and mental health, compromises their ability to learn and socialize and undermines their development,” said UNICEF’s Representative Dr Yasmin Ali Haque. “It is therefore our collective responsibility to recognize violence against children, join global, national or local movements to end it and bring together new ideas to focus collective action on ending it.”
The initiative aims to mobilize people around the world to recognize violence against children, and join global, national or local movements to end it. A special website and a social media campaign will provide further information to help children, parents and communities take action.
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UNICEF works in more than 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing 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. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org/southsudan
For more information, please contact:
Mercy Kolok, Communication Officer, UNICEF South Sudan, (+211 (0) 955639658) e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org