SRSG Santos Pais calls for action to fight impunity around violence against children in the Mercosur region

Brasilia, 13 May 2015 - In the year in which Brazil commemorates the 25th anniversary of the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the adoption of the Statute of Children and Adolescents, a meeting of the Permanent Commission of the initiative “NiñoSur” of MERCOSUR was held on the 7th and 8th of May in Brasilia (XXVI RAADH Meeting). The meeting focused on the follow-up to the recommendations of the UN Study on Violence against Children and the South American Roadmap for the prevention of violence against children, adopted in Asunción, Paraguay, in 2011.

The Regional Roadmap, together with the Declaration of Asunción and the Analytical Regional Study on the implementation of the recommendations of the UN Study, developed within the framework of the South American Consultation for the follow-up to  the UN Study on violence against children, organized in Asuncion in April 2011, constitute a reference to consolidate progress, meet new challenges and monitor progress in the MERCOSUR countries for the protection of children against violence.

At the meeting in Brasilia, the Permanent Commission Niño Sur agreed upon the establishment of a regional policy for the promotion of good treatment and violence prevention to safeguard the human rights of children and adolescents in the MERCOSUR area. This includes the promotion of a periodic review process of progress achieved in the MERCOSUR countries. In addition, the Permanent Commission decided to develop regional guidelines on the medicalization of children and adolescents.

During her mission, the Special Representative also held meetings with the Chamber of Deputies of the Federal Congress of Brazil to promote a juvenile justice system in full compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and to impede measures to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility.

The Special Representative also participated in the launch of the 2014 Index on Racial Inequality and Youth Vulnerability to Violence which shows the particular risks faced by afro descendant children and young people who are particularly vulnerable to homicides - in Brazil the homicide rate of afro descendant young people is 155% higher than for white oung people.

The Special Representative acknowledged the important initiatives promoted by the Government of Brazil to promote the social inclusion of disadvantaged groups and in strengthening the data collection system and a research agenda on the extent of violence against children, including homicides. "It is essential to ensure visibility to this dramatic reality and mobilize action to fight impunity around violence suffered by the most vulnerable groups of the population, who are often surrounded by social indifference" stressed the Special Representative.