On March 17, 2022, Humanium attended a pivotal side event to the 49th Human Rights Council session titled “Investing in Integrated Services to Prevent and Respond to Violence against Children”, organized by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children and the Child Rights Connect Working Group on Children and Violence.
An event to end violence against children
Humanium is working hard to fulfill the rights recognized by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – the CRC – and strongly re-affirmed in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Preventing violence against children by addressing the root causes of violence means implementing the CRC and advancing towards the complete fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
It is with this aim that the Child Rights Connect Working Group on Children and Violence was born. Within the Working Group, more than 70 societies and organization are brought together in dialogue to develop good practices and recommendations and to support the Committee on the Rights of the Child in its daily work.
The purpose of the side event that took place on March 17, 2022, thanks to the cooperation between the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children and the members of the Working Group was to strengthen the stakeholders’ commitment to end violence against children by providing a clear picture of the emerging challenges and of the necessary interventions to mitigate this emergency.
The silent pandemic of violence against children
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children, Najat Maalla M’jid, highlighted the importance to invest in child sensitive integrated services and multilevel approaches.
The Special Representative explained how the Covid-19 pandemic, the impacts of climate change and the recent humanitarian emergencies were exacerbating the pre-existing causes of violence. Indeed, Covid-19 has set back efforts to end violence against children, compromising the effective protection of millions of children (World Vision, 2022). Moreover, the unfolding Ukraine crisis is persisting in endangering the overall security of children worldwide.
“The silent pandemic of violence against children is on the rise and investing in ending this violence is the only vaccine.”-Najat Maalla M’jid, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children
Najat Maalla M’jid called on States and Governments to engage in effective investments to end violence against children. The Special Representative explained how even a modest increase in each Government’s expenditures could make a consistent change in the fight to end violence against children and it would also represent a long-term investment. As such, a real plan to end violence against children should be an integral part of every Government’s economic strategy.
“If Covid-19 was not a strong enough wake up call, Ukraine crisis must be.”-Najat Maalla M’jid, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children
Indeed, it has been demonstrated that violence against children not only violates human rights but is also economically disadvantageous to every nation (Child Fund, 2014). In fact, violence undermines the investments in quality education for children and reduces the human capital of states as children would not be able to discover their value and to follow their academic path (Unicef, 2021). As a matter of fact, the pain that children suffer during and after violence causes mental health problems and it would represent a serious impediment to their full development (Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children, 2020).
The importance of child participation
“Decisions concerning our safety and protection should be also in our hands”.
This is what a 17-year-old activist from India said out loud during the event. She explained how children are frequently treated by governments as invisible citizens, re-affirming the concept according to which the future of all nations rests upon children and as such they need to be included in the strategy for their rights and well-being.
“We are not just our future, we exist now and we are as part of the presents as adults are”, reiterated the girl.
In the same event, another child rights activist from Nepal echoed these concepts requesting all world leaders to prioritize child participation emphasizing that it is necessary to speak the language of children to address and solve their problems.
Humanium’s advocating of effective child protection
It is pivotal to work hard and meticulously to end violence against children taking in mind that the decisions that are made today will impact the future and the generations to come.
Humanium is committed to ensuring that children are protected against violence and that the challenges posed by Covid-19, climate change and ongoing conflicts are confronted with a rights-based approach. If you want to support our further actions and projects so that international children’s rights laws can be further implemented, subscribe to our newsletter or become a member. Also, to support Humanium’s ongoing work and contribute to the implementation of children’s rights projects, consider making a donation, and join us in taking action for children’s rights worldwide.
Written by Federica Versea
Child Fund. (2014). The costs and economic impact of violence against children. Retrieved from Child Fund: https://www.childfund.org/uploadedFiles/public_site/media/ODI%20Report%20%20The%20cost%20and%20economic%20impact%20of%20violence%20against%20children.pdf, accessed on March 21, 2022.
Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children. (2020). Hidden scars:how violence harms the mental health of children. Retrieved from Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children: https://violenceagainstchildren.un.org/sites/violenceagainstchildren.un.org/files/documents/publications/final_hidden_scars_lhow_violence_harms_the_mental_health_of_children.pdf, accessed on March 20, 2022.
Unicef. (2021). Violence against children. Retrieved from Unicef: https://www.unicef.org/protection/violence-against-children, accessed on March 17, 2022.
World Vision. (2022). COVID-19 puts millions of children at increased risk of violence. Retrieved from World Vision: https://www.wvi.org/hidden-hero/ending-violence-against-children, accessed on March 17, 2022.