International Day of Innocent Children
Victims of Aggression – 4th June
On 19 August 1982, at its emergency special session on the question of Palestine, the General Assembly, “appalled at the great number of innocent Palestinian and Lebanese children victims of Israel’s acts of aggression”, decided to commemorate 4 June of each year as the International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression (resolution ES-7/8).
The purpose of the day is to acknowledge the pain suffered by children throughout the world who are the victims of physical, mental and emotional abuse. This day affirms the UN’s commitment to protect the rights of children.
“On this solemn occasion, we need to recall the sacred duty, enshrined in the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child, to ensure that all children, without any exception whatsoever, enjoy special protection.”
Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar,
in his message for the 1983 observance
The purpose of the day is to acknowledge that many children throughout the world, regardless of whether they live in circumstances of war or peace, are victims of physical, mental and emotional abuse. It calls on individuals and organisations all over the world to be aware of the scale and impact of this abuse of children and to learn from or take part in campaigns to protect children’s rights.
Children who suffer injustice and poverty need to be protected and empowered by the adult world that creates these situations, not only through their direct actions but also indirectly, through global problems such as climate change and urbanisation.
Violence and abuse against children has a shockingly high occurrence worldwide. Research undertaken by the UN has found that 98% of children worldwide are not legally protected from corporal punishment in their homes and that in 2002, 150 million girls and 73 million boys under the age of 18 experienced some form of sexual violence. Many countries also face problems with violence against children in schools; for instance in many places there is no law prohibiting bullying or corporal punishment, which is considered by many teachers, parents and community members to be a normal way to discipline children.
UN Violence study
The United Nations Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children has been a global effort to paint a detailed picture of the nature, extent and causes of violence against children, and to propose clear recommendations for action to prevent and respond to it. This is the first time that an attempt has been made to document the reality of violence against children around the world, and to map out what is being done to stop it. Since 2003, many thousands of people have contributed to the study in consultations and working groups, through questionnaires and in other ways. Children and young people have been active at every level.
» Download, World Report on Violence against Children
» Download the United Nations Secretary-General’s Report on Violence against Children (pdf) عربي | | English | فارسى | Français | Русский | Español The Secretary Generals’s report on violence against children is a landmark report and reminds us that much violence against children is unreported and hidden as children often have no voice.
Children at risk
All children are potentially at risk of experiencing violence, however:
• Boys face a greater risk of physical violence than girls; girls face a greater risk of sexual violence, neglect and forced prostitution. In a major multi-country study, up to 21 per cent of women in some countries reported having been sexually abused before the age of 15.
• Children in low- and middle-income countries are more than twice as likely to die as a result of homicide than children in high-income countries, according to WHO. Boys aged 15-17 years and children aged 0-4 years are at greatest risk.
• Certain groups of children are particularly vulnerable, including children with disabilities, children belonging to minority groups, living on the streets, in conflict with the law, and those who are refugees or displaced from their homes.
As an example of work in this area ChildHope is currently working in partnership with a Ugandan organisation, African Network for Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN) to protect vulnerable children from abuse in their school.
Other examples can be found in this report:
Best practices of non-violent conflict resolution in and out-of-school: some examples; 2002
Other Resources About Children
Resources for Children