SRSG VAC Celebrates the 2018 Day of the African Child

16 June 2018 - “I strongly welcome the attention given by this year’s Day of the African Child to the theme: “Leave No Child Behind for Africa’s Development,” said UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children, Marta Santos Pais. “The Day of the African Child is a powerful reminder of the resilience and agency of Africa’s children and the brave action they took in defense of their rights during the 1976 student uprising in Soweto, South Africa. Now more than ever, it is a day to reflect on how far Africa has come and what more needs to be done to ensure every child enjoys a childhood free from fear and violence and grows up to achieve their full potential.”

This year’s theme was selected by the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) to continue building on the momentum created by last year’s message which recognized the 2030 Agenda as an essential framework for accelerating protection, empowerment and equal opportunity for all children.

“While much progress has been achieved, including in the context of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 ‘The Africa We Want’, the ACERWC Agenda 2040 ‘Fostering an Africa Fit for Children’, and the African Union’s ‘Campaign to End Child Marriage’, millions of boys and girls continue to suffer multiple deprivations and violations of their rights,” said Santos Pais. “This year’s Day of the African Child theme recognizes that failing to invest in essential services and in children’s protection from all forms of violence will compromise social and economic progress across the continent.”

“As highlighted by ‘The African Report on Violence against Children’, the cost of inaction is too high and runs the risk of leaving the vast majority of Africa’s children and adolescents left behind, especially the most vulnerable and already marginalized, such as children with disabilities and children with albinism,” said Santos Pais. “We must all continue to shine a bright light of compassion and protection upon the darkness of violence and discrimination that so many African children with albinism and disabilities unjustly endure. Together, we must promote laws and policies to better protect them and break down social conventions that lead to their neglect, stigmatization, exclusion and discrimination.” 


With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda - and its ambitious vision to build a world free from fear and from violence - today, more than ever, we must ensure that no child in Africa - or anywhere - is left behind,” said Santos Pais. “My Office looks forward to continuing our work with the ACERWC, AU and Member States to achieve the 2030 Agenda goals and targets, including SDG target 16.2, to end all forms of violence against children.”


SRSG-VAC Statement on International Albinism Awareness Day 2018:

The African Report on Violence against Children:

ACERWC Day of the African Child background document: