Thursday, September 22, 2005

Violence against children

UN Pulse, a blog operated by the UN Library service, directs us to the recent report on Violence Against Children.

Essentially, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro was asked by the GA to report at the 60th Session on violence against children in a number of situations.

His study method is outlined here. His progess report on his study , made to the Human Rights Commission, is here. As part of his study, he sent a questionnaire to governments, 87 of which responded. Their responses are available for download on the UHCHR website here.

Without providing much in the way of susbtantive results, the report nevertheless highlights the large range of stakeholders who are being involved in this process. He has met with the ILO, UNICEF, WHO, OHCHR and is attempting to get human rights bodies involved as well.

The outline of the study is provided, and it is worth reproducing here in full:

  1. Introduction and overview (background information and models for understanding the global context of the situation and conditions in which children live and how they affect children's vulnerability to violence - including culture, language, ethnicity, disability and gender - and the impact of violence on children's development).
  2. Overview of State obligations, legal frameworks and agreements to promote prevention of violence and responses to protect children from violence.
  3. Violence against children in the home and in the family.
  4. Violence against children in schools and educational settings.
  5. Violence against children in other institutional settings (orphanages, etc) including children in conflict with the law.
  6. Violence against children in the community and on the streets.
  7. Violence against children in work situations.
  8. Conclusions and recommendations etc.

It seems every attempt will be made in this study to cover the field, and it is not receiving as much attention as it possibly should. Children are by their nature more vulnerable to violence in society than just about any group I can think of. They are vulnerable to violence at work, in schools and at home. They are recruited into armies and forced to fight. They are subjected to sexual slavery and trafficking.

It is wonderful that the UN is paying a good deal of attention to this problem. It is great that universities are beginning to teach subjects such as Children's Rights. It is time more attention was paid to this deeply destructive problem.


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