SRSG Maalla M'jid in Iceland - "Innovative and bold steps to enhance children's wellbeing,  protection and empowerment leaving no one behind are a sound investment that will have a high return for children"

Reykjavik, 26 June 2022 - On a two day visit to Iceland, Special Representative Maalla M'jid commended the Government for strengthening of national legislation to prohibit all forms of violence against children. Dr Maalla M'jid was particularly impressed with the widely participative, including engagement with children, process of devising and adopting the legislation and policy in this field. 

"Iceland has taken innovative and bold steps to enhance children's wellbeing,  protection and empowerment, leaving no one behind. The adoption of the child prosperity legislation is not only the right thing to do; it is a sound investment that will have a high return for children, families, and society. It is a pleasure to build on my long-standing engagement with Iceland through my visit, and I shall continue to provide my full support and widely disseminate and share this promising practice” said Dr. Maalla M'jid.

The Special Representative as had strong, long-standing engagement with Iceland around the development of legislation and policy to support children’s prosperity and the visit provided an opportunity to advocate for integrated, cross-sectoral social services that focus strongly on prevention and early intervention. 

During her visit, organized in close collaboration with the Ministry for Education and Children, the Special Representative met with a wide range of stakeholders, including the President of Iceland, government Ministers, members of the Alþingi(Icelandic Parliament), the municipal authority of Reykjavik, the National Agency for Children and Families, the National Police Commissioner, the national Teachers’ Union, economists working on children’s prosperity in Iceland, as well as the national committees of UNICEF and UN Women, the UN Association, and members of the UN Women Youth Council. 

During the meetings, Special Representative Maalla M'jid called for continuous investment in proven, evidence-based violence prevention programmes to avert the economic costs of violence as well as remove a critical barrier to children achieving their health, educational and economic development potential. It was also underpinned by an analysis of the cost of violence against children and the high return on investing in child-and gender-sensitive protection and violence prevention.

Dr. Maalla M'jid also visited the Icelandic model of ‘Barnahus’, the ‘Children’s House’ for children victims of sexual abuse set up more than 20 years ago.