"Children urgently need access to sustainably financed social protection systems" - Annual report of SRSG Maalla M'jid to Human Rights Council

New York, 8 March 2021 – SRSG Najat Maalla M’jid called for allocation of adequate budgets and strengthened integrated and truly accessible services to accelerate action for implementation of the 2030 Agenda while ending the pandemic of violence against children in the presentation of her.annual report to the 46th session of the Human Rights Council. 

In her opening statement, the Special Representative reviewed major initiatives and developments that sustained and scale-up efforts to safeguard children’s freedom from violence and advance implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In a year marked by the COVID-19 pandemic and its unprecedented global impact, the report provides an overview of the  activities of the mandate with particular focus on the impact of the pandemic on children’s protection from violence and well-being. 

"The COVID-19 pandemic has harmed the physical and mental well-being of children. The risk of children experiencing or being exposed to violence at home tended to increase due to school closures, confinement, movement restrictions, disruption in the provision of already limited child protection services, and added family stresses related to job loss, isolation and anxieties over health and finances, said Dr. Maalla M'jid"

In the interactive debate with Member States the Special Representative called for stronger mobilization to capitalize on “the opportunity presented by building back better from the pandemic which must be seized to reassess priorities to advance human development and reduce inequalities, especially for children and their communities. Children urgently need access to sustainably financed social protection systems linked to properly resourced child-protection services. The allocation of adequate budgets and the strengthening of services for the well-being of children and their protection from all forms of violence must be recognized as an investment that will be key to the success of the pandemic recovery.”   

Furthermore, Dr. Maalla M'jid stressed the importance of promoting a culture of constructive civic engagement, fostering efforts to work with children to build back better and address all forms of violence against children recomending that “children shall be part of the solution to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals."

Special Representative Maalla M'jid commended the many examples of children’s active engagement across regions in acting against violence, advancing positive change, working as partners with adults and supporting their peers.

“The world is at a crucial point with regard to the lives of a generation of children who will be most affected by COVID-19. All must be done to ensure that children do not become the main victims of the pandemic, and to build a better world where their rights are promoted and protected and where no child is left behind, ” concluded Dr. Maalla M’jid.

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