International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression – 4 June

International Day of Innocent Children
Victims of Aggression –  4th June

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                                        UNICEF Achinto

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.

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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.

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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

International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression – 4th June 2012

International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression – 4th June

May 27 2012

“BEIRUT (AP) — Gruesome video shows rows of dead Syrian children lying in a mosque in bloody shorts and T-shirts with gaping head wounds, haunting images of what activists called one of the deadliest regime attacks yet in Syria’s 14-month-old uprising.”

This may be one end of a continuum which covers all acts of aggression against children  – it gains media attention but many acts of aggression do not – corporal punishment is still used in many schools (worldwide)  and the UN study on violence against children (2006) lists many small but significant acts of aggression against children –

Main findings of the study
The study concludes that violence against children happens everywhere, in every country and society and across all social groups. Extreme violence against children may hit the headlines but children say that daily, repeated small acts of violence and abuse also hurt them. While some violence is unexpected and isolated, most violent acts against children are carried out by people they know and should be able to trust: parents, boyfriends or girlfriends, spouses and partners, schoolmates, teachers and employers. Violence against children includes physical violence, psychological violence such as insults and humiliation, discrimination, neglect and maltreatment. Although the consequences may vary according to the nature and severity of the violence inflicted, the short- and long-term repercussions for children are very often grave and damaging.

“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
International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression
3 June 1983

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.
Victims of injustice and poverty have always had their problems being heard, and none have had more difficulty, historically, than children. Children need help and protection from an adult world that perpetrates most of the abuse. Children are victims of various forms of abnormal behavior.

It is especially difficult for children to cope in times of war. Children’s reactions to such stressful events vary and there are similarities across all ages when their lives are impacted by war or the threat of war. What is specially disturbing about children during times of war is when a child begins to experience anger toward the people or countries with which their country is at war, feelings that could be redirected at a classmate, parent, or neighbor, because they are unable to express them in other ways.

War interrupts everyone’s routines and changes how one responds to daily life. While children are supposed to be protected in armed conflicts, in reality, they are not. The difficulty to monitor and report on basic violations has hampered efforts to bring pressure to bear on parties to armed conflicts in order to elicit compliance with child protection commitments and obligations.

Appalled by the great number of innocent Palestinian and Lebanese children victims of war in August 10, 1983, the United Nations General Assembly decided to commemorate June 4 of each year as the International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression.

The day is an occasion to remind people that throughout the world, there are many children suffering from various forms of abuse, and acknowledges the pain suffered by children throughout the world whether it be in times of war or peace. The day also affirms the United Nations commitment to protect the rights of children.

While considerable progress has been achieved in the past few years in obtaining a framework of international norms and commitments that protect the rights and wellbeing of children, the general situation for children remains grave and unacceptable.

The International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression calls on individuals and organizations all over the world to be aware of the impact of abuse against all children and to take part in responsive campaigns centered on protecting children’s rights.

Defining Success: Developing Locally Meaningful Indicators for Child-centered Psychosocial Programming in Uganda

New publication – Defining Success: Developing Locally Meaningful Indicators for Child-centered Psychosocial Programming in Uganda

(Child Protection in Crisis)

How can we measure the impact of community-based psychosocial programs on the sustained well-being of children and families? This question was addressed by the Child Protection in Crisis Learning Network through its 2010 ethnographic study in Uganda. Interviews were conducted with 320 children and 150 parents in four districts, in both rural and urban settings. The collected information was used to develop core indicators of children’s psychosocial well-being.

 

The full report is available here 

Violence Against Children – Global Spotlight

INEE write about a new report from IRIN on violence against children. This topic has been hidden for too long and since the UN study governments have been challenged and brought to account in light of their signing of the CRC

UNICEF Achinto

Download the study here:  http://www.unicef.org/violencestudy/reports.html

IRIN report :

Between 133 million and 275 million children experience violence at home every year, most of whom live in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, according to the 2006 UN Study on Violence against Children. After her first year in the job, the UN Special Representative on Violence against Children, Marta Santos Pais, told IRIN her major achievement has been to bring violence against children out into the open. Marta Santo Pais will continue on to pursue four priorities in the next two years: to see legislation prohibiting all forms of violence against children passed in more countries; gather more data on violence against children; set up better counselling networks for child victims of violence; and push all governments to follow the plan to eliminate violence against children set out in 2006.

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To learn more about these goals and priorites, click here.

The United Nations Study on Violence against Children – revisited

Although this report has been around for nearly 4 years, it is not up to the UN on its own to implement any recommendations. It is also up to every citizen to make themselves aware of the issues surrounding violence towards children and young people and to take action to remedy mistakes of the past. Those of you who are involved with schools in any way, should ask if there is code of conduct, or a ‘discipline ‘ book or a suggestions box where students can anonymously, if necessary, comment on their treatment as part of their learning. This is just the start…

Noorani

The United Nations Study on Violence against Children

In October 2006, the Independent Expert for the Secretary-General Study on Violence against Children, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro of Brazil , presented his final report to the UN General Assembly. The Study analyses violence against children in five settings: the home and family; schools and educational settings; care and justice institutions; the work-place; and the community. The Study contains 12 over-arching recommendations and a number of setting specific recommendations that represent a comprehensive framework for follow-up action.

The Study process also resulted in a more detailed World Report on Violence against Children and in child friendly publications. The Study material not available in this page can be found at: www.violencestudy.org

On 19 October 2007, the Independent Expert presented his progress report on the implementation of the Study recommendations to the General-Assembly. Click here to read his statement.

GA resolution A/RES/62/141 established the post of Special Representative of the Secretary-General on violence against children. The resolution encourages the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) to cooperate with and support the Special Representative.

Background

The study was guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child which emphasizes children’s rights to physical and personal integrity, and outlines States parties obligations to protect them from “all forms of physical or mental violence”, including sexual and other forms of exploitation, abduction, armed conflict, and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. It also obliges the State to enact preventive measures and ensure that all child victims of violence receive the support and assistance they require.

The UN General Assembly called for the study in 2001 acting on the recommendation of the Committee on the Rights of the Child . In overseeing the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Committee held two days of general discussion on the issue of violence against children within the family and in school (2001) and state violence against children (2000). The request for an international study on the question of violence against children was an outcome of these days of discussion.

The Study process was supported jointly by OHCHR, UNICEF and WHO.

And from the UNICEF site

Violence is found in schools, institutions (such as orphanages and other residential care), on the streets, in the workplace and in prisons. Children experience violence at home, within their family and from other children. A small proportion of violence against children leads to death, but most often the violence does not even leave visible marks. Yet it is one of the most serious problems affecting children today.

Much violence is hidden. Children may not feel able to report acts of violence for fear of retribution from their abuser. Both child and abuser may see nothing unusual or wrong in the child being subjected to violence. They may not consider an act of violence actually to be violence at all, perhaps viewing it as justifiable and necessary punishment. The child victim may feel ashamed or guilty, believing that the violence was deserved.  This often leads the child to be unwilling to speak about it.

Violence pervades the societies within which children grow up. They see it in the media.  It is part of the economic, cultural and societal norms that make up the child’s environment. It has its roots in issues such as the power relations associated with gender, exclusion, absence of a primary care giver and societal norms that are not protective or respectful of children. Other factors include drugs, availability of firearms, alcohol abuse, unemployment, crime, impunity and cultures of silence. 

Violence can have severe implications for children’s development. In the most severe cases, it can lead to death or injury. However, it can also affect children’s health, their ability to learn or even their willingness to go to school at all. It can lead children to run away from home, exposing them to further risks. Violence also destroys children’s self-confidence and can undermine their ability to be good parents in the future. Children subjected to violence have a heightened risk of depression and suicide in later life.

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 40 million children below the age of 15 suffer from abuse and neglect, and require health and social care.
  • A survey in Egypt showed 37 per cent of children reporting being beaten or tied up by their parents, and 26 per cent reporting injuries such as fractures, loss of consciousness or permanent disability as a result of this.
  • Some 36 per cent of Indian mothers told interviewers in a survey that they had hit their children with an object of some sort within the last six months. Ten per cent said they had kicked their child; 29 per cent had pulled their child’s hair;  28 per cent had hit the child with their knuckles; and three per cent said they had punished their child by putting hot peppers in their mouth.
  • A 1995 survey in the United States showed that five per cent of parents asked admitted to disciplining their children through one or more of the following: hitting the child with an object; kicking the child; beating the child; and threatening the child with a knife or gun.
  • Recent South African police statistics show 21,000 cases of child rape or assault reported, against children as young as nine months old. Only an estimated 1 in 36 cases of rape is reported.

Global Campaign to End Violence in Schools – PLAN

Ever since the UN secretary general’s study on Violence against Children was published  organisations such as Plan International have been attempting to reduce the fear that many children have when they go to school.

Plan International has released a progress report for the Learn Without Fear Campaign.  Learn Without Fear, a global campaign to protect tens of millions of children from violence and bullying in schools, has made impressive progress in its first year. Plan’s Learn Without Fear campaign was set up to address the fact that cruel and humiliating forms of physical punishment, gender-based violence and bullying are a daily reality for millions of children. Each year, 150 million girls and 73 million boys across the world are subjected to sexual violence, and 20-65 per cent of schoolchildren report being verbally or physically bullied.  At present, almost 90 countries have not yet prohibited corporal punishment in schools.  Plan believes that every child has the right to a safe school environment and envisions a world where children can go to school in safety and learn without fear or threats of violence.

The report highlights a number developments:

  • Legal frameworks are starting to be changed through Plan’s efforts eg in Ecuador and Nicaragua, over 5.5million children are now better protected by law
  • Over 20,000 teachers and other public servants have been trained
  • Over 280,000 children have been involved in campaign activities
  • The governments of 30 countries have invited Plan to work with them to stop school violence
  • Plan has created partnerships with teachers, lawyers, police and others
  • Thousands of schools are benefitting from codes of conduct and improved school policies promoted by Plan
  • 60 countries are working actively on the campaign
  • Plan has contributed new understanding of the issues faced by children by producing 45 different sets of research across 35 countries.

For access to the full report click here.