SRSG annual report to the Human Rights Council calls for accelerated global action to end violence against children

New York 5 February 2016 - The annual report of the SRSG-VAC to the Human Rights Council builds upon the decision by the General Assembly to renew the mandate of the Special Representative for a further period of three years, and upon the strategic opportunities provided by the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to accelerate progress in children’s protection from violence.

The report is issued in a momentous year for the protection of children from violence, as 2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Study on Violence against Children and the start of implementation of the new global development agenda with its strategic target 16.2 on ending all forms of violence against children.

As highlighted by SRSG Santos Pais, “In this year of commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the UN Study on Violence against Children and as the world starts the countdown towards 2030, we must transform this unique momentum into an inclusive and unstoppable movement! It is indeed high time to end violence against children and close the gap between commitments and action, translating the vision of a world free from violence into a reality for all children”.

The report recalls the continuing toll that violence takes on the lives of children, and highlights the significant developments promoted around the world for violence prevention and response, and the many areas where sustained efforts are urgently needed to build a world free from fear and from violence.

Significant progress has been made in consolidating international and national efforts towards ending violence against children, with an increasing number of countries with comprehensive national legal bans and multi-sectoral plans of action to prevent and respond to violence against children. The growing body of data and research on the scale of violence against children is also steadily advancing, from national household surveys to administrative measures that help to raise awareness of the magnitude of this problem and provide solid evidence for prevention and response efforts. Regional-level developments continue to be instrumental in placing violence against children at the heart of the regional policy agenda, enhancing the accountability of States and supporting national implementation efforts.

As in previous years, this year’s annual report addresses a special area of concern, drawing particular attention to the serious impact on children of cyberbullying. While the rapid development and expansion of ICTs have generated new opportunities for children’s empowerment and the realization of their rights, it is also associated with significant risks for their protection from violence. Cyberbullying is one such challenge. The SRSG’s report addresses the different manifestations of this phenomenon and its impact on the enjoyment of children’s rights, and identifies priority measures required to prevent and address its occurrence.

The SRSG’s annual report highlights key priority areas her mandate will particularly pursue, which include: further promoting a safe, inclusive and empowering digital agenda for children, and addressing children’s protection from bullying and cyberbullying; actively supporting the in-depth global study on children deprived of liberty; and working towards the development of monitoring tools and methodologies to capture progress towards reaching SDG target 16.2 and building a world free from violence for all children, leaving no one behind.