Meeting with the Special Representative on Violence Against Children

The NGO working group on children and violence of Child Rights Connect, convened by Arigatou International, organized a meeting with Ms. Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General on Violence Against Children on 24 September in Geneva.

Representatives from eleven NGOs and staff members from the office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Violence Against Children (SRSG/VAC) attended the meeting at the United Nations that aimed to discuss with Ms. Santos Pais updates from her office, learn about her priorities for the upcoming months, share information about the work of NGOs in Geneva and explore ways to continue supporting her mandate.

The meeting started with reflections on the high level panel on “Accelerating global efforts to end violence against children” sponsored by the mission of Algeria in Geneva and held on 23 September during the twenty-seventh session of the Human Rights Council. A round table of introductions and updates from each organization was held followed by information from Ms. Maria Lucia Uribe, director of Arigatou International Geneva and convener of the WG/CAV, about a video the working group is producing to disseminate the recommendations and good practices discussed during the high level panel.

Ms. Santos Pais updated the working group on the several visits she has had during the last months, particularly her visit to Slovenia where she joined the Prime Minister, members of the government, members of the national assembly and children’s organizations to discuss children’s views on the world’s development. Ms. Santos Pais also highlighted recent discussions and meetings related to violence in Central America and her participation in a round table in Jamaica focused on how to prevent violence against children in early childhood and how to support families with positive parenting skills.  

As stated by Ms. Santos Pais, 2014 represents a special year for child rights issues: it is the twenty-fith anniversary of the Convention on the Right on the Child and tenth anniversary of the UN Study on Violence against Children; and we are also getting closer to shaping the Post-2015 Agenda, which represents a unique opportunity to ensure that ending violence against children becomes a priority for governments and the development agenda. Therefore, she recommended NGOs to joint efforts and mobilize governments, to take advantage of the important regional declarations, events and positions on the topic and to join the movement to advocate for the inclusion of ending violence against children in the new Development Goals. 

Ms. Santos Pais highlighted several relevant topics on her agenda for the upcoming year: community violence and organized crime; radicalization of children; sexual exploitation; stigmatizing role of the media; sports and violent means of disciplining children. The SRSG/VAC welcomed the collaboration with NGOs and expressed her interest to continue working with NGOs in Geneva and elsewhere.

The meeting with the SRSG/VAC was organized in the framework of the 2014 work plan of the working group on children and violence from Child Rights Connect.

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