SRSG visits UNICEF Regional Office for East Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok (Thailand) 11 January 2011 - On her way to meet with the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children’ in the Philippines, Ms Santos Pais visited the UNICEF Regional Office for East Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok to speak to colleagues from regional UN agencies, NGOs and interested embassy representatives about pressing child protection issues and childrens’ right to freedom from violence.
In the East Asia and Pacific region over one in four children has been sexually abused. This is only the tip of the iceberg stressed Ms Santos Pais, many more cases go by unreported because of fear of social taboos, stigma or insufficient capacity to monitor abuse cases on the national or local level.
Factors contributing to the risk of violence and abuse in East Asia and the Pacific are high migration flows, sophisticated child trafficking networks, the preponderance of child sex tourism, and the breakdown of family units and community ties.
The lifelong costs of abuse in terms of medical care and treatment, unemployment, crime, and poor educational attainment make it clear that governments need to invest in child protection systems that work to prevent cases of abuse rather than simply treating the consequences. Ms Santos Pais also stressed the need for governments to collect better data and promote research on the magnitude of the problem in order to develop and implement more effective and informed policies and budgets.
Ms Santos Pais will continue her trip to the Manila where she will attend a meeting with members of the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rightsof Women and Children and advocate for ASEAN support in promoting prevention and elimination of violence against children as well as the ratification of the two Optional Protocols of the CRC among its members. She will highlight that the current drafting of the ASEAN Declaration on Human Rights is an opportunity to enshrine a commitment to the right of all children to live a life free of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.