Strategic Milestones to Strengthen Children’s Right to Freedom from Violence must be seized, highlights SRSG Annual Report to the UN General Assembly

New York, 24 September 2018 - The Special Representative’s 2018 report to the UN General Assembly documents global, regional and national efforts to end violence against children and ensure their effective protection, and recalls critical progress made in policy and law, in data and research, as well as in strategic partnership and social mobilization initiatives. These have been critical to stimulate action and address serious concerns, including bullying, cyberbullying and online abuse.

The report highlights how ending all forms of violence against children is indispensable to safeguarding children’s rights and to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. 

“Failure to reach SDG target 16. 2 would compromise millions of children’s lives, threatening potential gains across the entire 2030 Agenda with respect to education, health, gender equality, poverty eradication, social inclusion and justice for all,” stressed SRSG Santos Pais.

National data surveys conducted in different regions of the world have been crucial to support government advocacy, policy and planning. Three additional Violence Against Children Survey (VACS) were recently launched:

by the Government of Lao PDR:
by the Government of Rwanda:
by the Government of Uganda:
In Latin America, the Government of Honduras launched the preliminary findings from its national survey which includes a groundbreaking module on the relationship between migration and violence against children and young people.

To further mobilize action to implement the 2030 Agenda for children, the 2018 SRSG Report pays particular attention to the alarming levels of violence affecting very young children:  

“Violence prevention must start in early childhood. Indeed, investment in children’s early years, through support to positive parenting and social protection, provides high returns for States’ human and social capital and creates peaceful, prosperous societies. Sadly, however, spending to prevent and address violence against children is not systematically monitored and there is currently no agreed international means for tracking budget allocations, whether from official development assistance, domestic resources or other financial flows. This is a priority area where we remain committed to work with all partners,” SRSG Santos Pais added.

Reinforcing regional processes to strengthen children’s protection and support implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development remains a cornerstone of the Special Representative’s mandate.

“The review of progress in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda offers a unique opportunity to promote a quantum leap in this process. 2019 represents a strategic milestone in the journey to build a world which invests in children, and where every child can grow up free from fear and from violence,” highlighted SRSG Santos Pais.

Three key moments will provide renewed impetus to efforts across regions.

Firstly, the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) in July 2019 will assess progress on the implementation of the SDGs under the theme ‘empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality’ and will review the targets related to violence against children, especially within SDGs 4, 8 and 16.

Secondly, in September 2019, world leaders will gather under the first General Assembly Summit to review progress made in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs, providing high-level political guidance for the second phase of implementation.

And thirdly, in November 2019, the UN General Assembly will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the most widely ratified UN treaty in history. 2019 also marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Special Representative’s mandate.

The 2019 review of progress towards the SDGs will help provide a comprehensive picture of how far the world has come in ensuring children’s safety and protection; what gaps remain; and, how to best accelerate progress to end all violence against children by 2030.

To support this critical process, and in collaboration with a wide range of partners, the Special Representative will promote the development of a Global Thematic Report on Ending Violence against Children.

The SRSG annual report to the General Assembly identifies additional strategic priorities for the year ahead:

  1. Further mainstreaming children’s protection from violence into the national policy agenda, including by supporting the enactment and enforcement of legislation banning all forms of violence, and the consolidation of data and research; and, by promoting the inclusion in the voluntary national reviews to be presented at the 2019 High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development, a self-critical assessment of progress in national efforts to protect children from violence;
  2. Promoting implementation of the Global Compacts for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and on Refugees to ensure a continuum of protection of all children, leaving no one behind;

Continuing to raise awareness of the impact of violence in early childhood and supporting prevention and protection measures, as well as consolidating research, in collaboration with Governments, inter-governmental organizations and sports federations, to ensure child safeguarding in sports so that all boys and girls can enjoy their right to recreation and play free from the fear of abuse and exploitation.