World Internet Conference - legislation is key to protecting children from online abuse and exploitation


At the 4th World Internet Conference held in Wuzhen, China, SRSG Santos Pais took centre-stage to bring attention to the critical role of legislation in preventing and combating children’s online abuse and exploitation drawing on international experience.  “In a field where technology advances very rapidly it is critical to keep legislative measures under constant review to address emerging concerns. But it is also crucial to supplement laws with effective enforcement and other measures such as awareness-raising, education, and capacity-building initiatives to prevent violence against children online” Santos Pais stressed. 

General Assembly resolution on the Rights of the Child highlights children’s protection from violence


“The focus on violence against children in this year’s resolution is an encouraging reaffirmation of States’ solemn commitment to the protection of children’s rights” said SRSG Santos Pais in welcoming the adoption by the General Assembly of the 2017 resolution on the Rights of the Child. “The resolution calls for all necessary measures to prevent and address violence against children in all its forms to be put in place, and recognizes the detrimental impact it has on the enjoyment of children’s rights. The resolution urges accelerated progress towards the elimination of all forms of violence against children by 2030 as specified in SDG target 16.2”, added Santos Pais.

“Children on the move have rights too – joint statement marking the 28th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child”


Geneva/New York, 20 November – On Universal Children’s Day, UN child rights experts[1] call on all Governments to safeguard the rights of children on the move.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most widely ratified human rights treaty and is further strengthened by its three Optional Protocols on the involvement of children in armed conflict; the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography; and on a communications procedure.

Special Representative on violence against children pleads for the end of cycle of neglect and abuse against refugee and migrant children


On a three-day visit to Greece, Special Representative Santos Pais met with children living in a refugee camp in Athens, from whom she heard painful as well as inspiring stories of courage and resilience. The visit was organized in the framework of a meeting of European Independent Children’s Rights Institutions, held in Athens to identify challenges and provide recommendations for future action to ensure the safeguard of refugee and migrant children across Europe.

Children should not be deprived of liberty and policies should be informed by their voices and experience


SRSG Santos Pais participated as a keynote speaker in the 11th European Forum on the Rights of the Child: Children deprived of their liberty and alternatives to detention, held in Brussels 7-8 November, where she stressed the importance of hearing the voices and recommendations of children when these challenging issues are considered.

"Children deprived of liberty are among the most forgotten and left behind in society and it is crucial to engage the support of all actors for their increased care and protection. Preventing and responding urgently to this serious and often neglected situation is a legal and human rights imperative; and it is critical for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals" the SRSG added.

In her statement at the Forum, SRSG Santos País pointed to the need to prevent the deprivation of liberty of children in the first place and focused on the special risks faced by girls. 

Violence against children remains widespread and pervasive and often wears a familiar face


The new UNICEF report, “A Familiar Face: Violence in the lives of children and adolescents” makes a crucial contribution to our understanding of the root causes, scale and impact of violence in children’s lives. The report presents the most current data on four specific forms of violence against children – violent discipline and exposure to domestic abuse during early childhood; violence at school; violent deaths among adolescents; and sexual violence in childhood and adolescence. 

SRSG welcomes new report and enhanced advocacy efforts in Africa to bring an end to violence against children in care settings


Children in institutional care, already vulnerable as a result of the circumstances that led to their separation from their families, are at high risk of violence, neglect, abuse and exploitation. The situation of children in care and the incidents of violence compromising the safeguard of their rights is often surrounded by a curtain of silence. In most countries, there is scarcely any data on the reasons and length of children's placement in institutions, about the facilities and providers of care services, or about those being reintegrated with their families.

Special Representative Santos Pais launches new book Celebrating childhood to inspire children and adults to become agents of change and join the journey to end violence against children


A new book to honour all those who are committed to building a world free from violence, where children can grow up happy, safe, confident, cherished, nurtured and respected was launched by SRSG Santos Pais on Tuesday during the UN General Assembly segment devoted to the promotion and protection of the rights of children.

The launch, co-organized with the Permanent Missions to the United Nations of Chile, Sweden and Thailand brought together a youth advocate for children’s rights, high-level child-rights advocates, including a representative of the Global Network of Religions for Children, the Chair of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, and the Ombuds for Children of Norway.

SRSG celebrates International Day of the Girl and urges increased investment around the world to end all forms of violence against girls, including child marriage


In commemorating the International Day of the Girl, SRSG Santos Pais recalled that while progress in reducing child marriage is still slow, there are encouraging signals of progress and levels have decreased slightly compared to earlier generations. Today, for example, seven countries across the African continent have levels of child marriage below 10 per cent, compared with only one country 25 years ago.

“The progress in reducing child marriage, and other efforts to curb violence and gender-based discrimination, demonstrate the commitments of Governments to spearhead action on the African Union (AU) Campaign to End Child Marriage. It is shocking however that around the world 750 million women and girls alive today were married before their eighteenth birthday and the figures demonstrate that all countries need to substantially accelerate action in order to eliminate child marriage by 2030”.

SRSG Santos Pais calls for increased investment in children’s protection from violence to achieve progress across the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda


SRSG Santos Pais shared alarming data on violence against children at the presentation of her annual report to the 72nd Session of United Nations General Assembly on Monday revealing the hidden face of these violations of children’s rights  across regions.