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Side Event at the Thirtieth Session of the Human Rights Council

Geneva, 2 October 2015. A side event on Monitoring and Accountability of goals and targets related to Violence Against Children in the Post 2015 Global Sustainable Development Agenda took place on 29 September on the occasion of the 30th Session of the Human Rights Council.

The event was sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Uruguay to the United Nations, and organized by the Working Group on Children and Violence of Child Rights Connect.

The purpose of the event was to discuss the best ways to ensure that the monitoring of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets related to Violence Against Children is anchored in international human rights standards to allow the international community to keep track of progress, ensure proper implementation and hold States and their partners accountable for their commitments. The discussions focused on the role of States and the existing human rights mechanisms in achieving VAC-related SDGs and targets implementation, monitoring and accountability.

The panellists included H.E. Mr. Ricardo González Arenas, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Uruguay to the United Nations in Geneva; Ms. Renate Winter, Vice-Chairperson, Committee on the Rights of the Child; Ms. Nicolette Moodie, Human Rights Specialist, UNICEF; Ms. Roberta Cecchetti, Senior Advocacy and Policy Advisor, Save the Children; Ms. Joanne Dunn, Senior Adviser Strategic Partnerships, Violence Against Children, World Vision International, and via video message from New York, Ms. Marta Santos Pais, UN Special Representative to the Secretary General on Violence Against Children.

Side Event at the Thirtieth Session of the Human Rights Council

 More than 50 participants attended the event, with the participation of several Permanent Missions, NGOs and academic institutions. The discussions included the following: the emphasis on the need for more interaction of States with UN Special Procedures, the suggestion to make the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mid-term reports mandatory, mainstream questions and recommendations related to the targets on Violence Against Children in the UPR, and talks of the possibility to create a Child Rights Unit within the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Some of the panelists highlighted the need to enhance the quality of recommendations and concluding observations for States, as well as the need for more effective mechanisms to assess proper follow up of actions.

Ms. Marta Santos Pais expressed the importance of including target 16.2 related to “ending abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence and torture against children”, as a distinct dimension of treaty bodies reporting guidelines for states parties.

Speaking about the need for consistency, efficiency and coordination between different reporting processes, H.E. Mr. Gonzalez expressed the importance of coordination at the national level between different review mechanisms, for instance human rights institutions, decision-making bodies, local government authorities, and any other national and local reporting mechanisms.

The participation of civil society and children was also recorded as key in monitoring and accountability processes, particularly allowing children to help in the design of monitoring processes at the national level, allowing their involvement at the governance level.

Overall, the panelists advocated for coordination of the Human Rights mechanisms with the High Level Political Forum, and the importance of cross-pollination of processes at the national, regional and international levels. The need to strengthen national data collection systems and their reliability to ensure disaggregated information was mentioned by most of the panelists, as well as the need for clear indicators to ensure proper monitoring and accountability.

Discussions will continue to take place in Geneva in 2016 with the collaboration of the Permanent Missions. It is expected that the topic and recommendations can be included in next year’s resolution of the Annual Day on the Rights of the Child.

The Working Group on Children and Violence is a member of Child Rights Connect and is co-convened by Arigatou International and World Vision International. It is formed by more than 14 child rights organizations.