Date of Meeting: 24 April 2017

Meeting Organizer: World Vision, Permanent Missions of Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Canada, Japan, Luxembourg, Panama, Thailand, Zambia and Zimbabwe; Global Partnership to End Violence against Children and UN-NGLS

ISJC Staff Present: Dr. Laurelle Smith 

Reporter: Dr. Laurelle Smith 

Which SDG does this topic cover? 16

Type of meeting: High level event (Briefing)

Brief summary of presentation of information made

The event was opened by Joanna Rubinstein, President and CEO of World Childhood Foundation- USA. She started with the well-known proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” but added “it takes a world to keep them safe”. There are many types of violence that can affect children including physical, sexual and emotional violence. We have to protect the investments that were made during the MDGs and build on that progress.

Kevin Jenkins, President and CEO of World Vision – Opening remarks

What is more important than protecting children? The SDGs include a promise to end violence towards children. There are many SDGs that affect children and they will not be achieved until will end violence against children.

When World Vision enters a community often the first thing they need to deal with is the violence towards children before they can do other things.

Violence against children is often thought of as sex trafficking, child brides, children who are sold for body parts, child labour, and organised crime. But violence also occurs in everyday places for some children. When children are whipped in to line at school- this teaches children that violence is good discipline. When children are beaten at home this shows children that violence is a normal part of domestic life. When Children are hit by police this shows violence is ok from authority.

Violence against children is often an unspoken thing in our communities and it will keep happening until someone steps in and speaks out. It’s a pain that echoes down through generations.

1 billion children suffer from violence every year.

A World Vision project ‘Celebrating Families’ is a three and a half day workshop that invites parents and caregivers to engage in activities that prompt deep self-reflection and growth to be aware of their role in creating a space to support the spiritual nurture of children. The programme has currently been rolled out in 160 communities throughout 60 countries and is helping to promote positive parenting attitudes.

It is important to measure the success of violence interventions and so we can put resources into, and campaign for the best ones.

World Vision has also seen a very successful programme which educates grandmothers about female genital mutilation - any one can argue and disagree with an agency or organisation, very few can argue with their granny!

Governments have a role to play too. Violence needs to be policed; prosecutions need to be made in order to deter others from doing the same.

Teachers pay a role- they champion our children. We need to educate children that they have the right to a life free from violence.

Abusing a child is never permissible and always preventable.

The SDG target for this is 16.2 (end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence and torture against children) but it is a part of so many other targets as well. 

Mr Jenkins ended by urging the UN to make ending violence against children a priority in every one of its campaigns and decisions. “Let’s sow the seeds that will spread across the world”

Dana, Girl delegate from Romania- Keynote Speaker

The world has changed in so many ways for the good, especially with technology, but there are still so many issues. Violence affects everyone – it has become normality.

So many people can’t defend themselves- the homeless, minorities, women and children. It is easy for people to direct their anger towards people who they perceive to be weaker than them.

Anger is learned- If a family is violent, children learn to become violent also- it’s a cycle.

In Ghana many young girls are sold by their parents to be married and forced to have children as a very young age but these girls often die as they are too young give birth. If they survive they can’t go to school and are often abused by their husbands.

We need to be a part of campaigns to say no to violence. We need to change this normality and education is key. We have dreamt, now we need to act. “Let’s be dreamers that change their dreams into reality”

Special Guests and Hosting Member States:

H.E Mr Georgi Velikov Panayotov, Permanent Representative of Bulgaria and Co-Chair of the Group of Friends on Children in the SDGs.

Violence robs a child’s future. All forms are preventable and we need to provide full protection. It’s part of their human rights. We all need to be involved, not just governments. Bulgaria is building a nationwide child protection system. All violence towards children is now illegal, including corporal punishment.

Mrs. Marta Santos, Special Representative of the Secretary General on Ending Violence against Children

This campaign offers an opportunity to combine all the SDGs and turn them into a reality for children. All children dream of a life free of violence but theirs lives are often a nightmare. Every 5 minutes a child dies from violence – it is intolerable. The clock is ticking and we can’t continue to put it off. The data so far are encouraging but we need to use the data we have to help aid more action. We need to listen to our young people and partner with them. Together we can reach the most favourable number – Zero, Zero tolerance.

H.E. Ambassador Virachi Plassi, Permanent Representative of Thailand to the United Nations

The SDGs present an opportunity for us to act now. Thailand has been working with UNICEF and other organisations to produce two landmark documents for ending violence against children in regions of Thailand. Thailand already has 12 regional child protection centres (which include teachers, social workers, psychologists) for measure, protection and prevention of violence against children.

H.E Christian Braun, Permanent Representative of Luxembourg and Co-Chair of the Group of Friends on Children in the SDGs

We need children to have safe and secure environments at home. Even in rich countries like Luxembourg we must raise awareness and increase collaboration.

Dr Susan Bissel, Director, Global Partnership to End Violence against Children

This campaign is grounded in the SDGs and was launched in July 2016. There is huge value in research and data to strengthen collaboration. Children themselves are key to this campaign. We need to consult them and teach them what role they play in protecting themselves and each other. The World Health Organisation has released a report entitled ‘Inspire: Seven strategies for Ending Violence Against Children’. This is an urgent call – 1 billion children were victims of violence last year.

H.E Masud Bin Momen, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations

All violence is preventable. In 2013, the Bangladesh government passed the Children’s Act, for the rights of the child. They have also launched a programme where people can report violence or abuse with a text message.

Ms Christine Kalamwina, Charge d’affaires of Zambia to the United Nations

Most violence occurs in our homes, schools and communities. In Zambia there is legislation to help ensure every child can reach their full potential. Corporal punishment has also been outlawed.

H.E Mr Hiroshi Minami, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations

There is a Japanese proverb “Children are a national treasure” but this is not our reality. It should be our dream to make this a reality.

Mrs Kumbirai Taremba, Charde d’Affaires of Zimbabwe to the United Nations

Child protection programmes have been implemented by the government. Police stations now have victim and child friendly booths for reporting crimes and child friendly courts. There is a law against all sexual abuse and forced marriages were outlawed in 2016.

Kevin Jenkins, President and CEO of World Vision – Closing remarks

We need to be measuring data at least at the national level and setting priorities. We don’t want to fall into the last five year trap with the SDGs.

One of the major challenges is that the world isn’t aware of the scale of this problem. We need to talk about it. 

What was of particular significance to share with The Salvation Army globally?

This meeting outlined the important issue of violence against children which affects 1 billion children a year. The Salvation Army is committed to safeguarding every child and young person participating in our programmes and advocating to end violence against children. It is encouraging to hear that community programmes can play a large role in educating children and families. This is something that The Salvation Army can continue to develop within their corps and community programmes. It is also important for The Salvation Army to be measuring the impact of their current programmes is order to pour resources into programmes that are making a difference in children’s lives.

Web links for more information

Tags: United Nations, SDG16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions