“It’s time to translate strong commitment to end violence against children into greater progress on the ground” – Special Representative concludes country visit to Jamaica with call for action to protect children

Kingston, 21 October 2022 - Dr. Maalla M’jid’s first country mission to Jamaica aimed at accelerating progress in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, addressing the drivers that lead to violence and strengthening the long-standing cooperation between Jamaica and her office.

During her four-day visit, Dr. Maalla M’jid met with ministers, parliamentarians, civil society and faith-based organizations, national institutions, children, and young people, and UN partners to discuss initiatives aiming at protecting children from violence. The Special Representative undertook site visits to programmes for diverse groups of children, including children with developmental disabilities, adolescent mothers, children in state care, and children deprived of liberty. The Special Representative also participated in the launch of the “Just Medz It” campaign to tackle school-based violence. 

The SRSG welcomed the strong commitment in Jamaica at all levels to tackle violence against children, and the important steps already taken to give effect to this commitment. To accelerate progress further, the SRSG stressed the importance of more effective coordination and accountability mechanisms, ensuring that efforts to end violence against children are duly integrated with other key policy frameworks.

Special Representative Maalla M’jid, highlighted the particular importance of working within communities through bottom-to-top approaches that tackle the critical challenges Jamaica is facing and that have strong and long-lasting impact on children’s well-being. Dr. Maalla M’jid called the need for a whole of society approach to invest in children, to empower them, to include them in decision making processes, to suppor them in their role as agents of positive change.

“Spending on integrated services for children across the life-cycle must be seen as an investment. We need to stop seeing children as a problem to solve . We need to stop seeing children only as the future. They are the present.” said the Special Representative.

The Special Representative undertook to continue working in close collaboration with the government of Jamaica and the UN Country Team to build this investment case and to contribute to the strong mobilization evident among all the stakeholders she met during her visit.