“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.


SRSG Santos Pais calls for the setting-up of national independent Ombuds or Commissioners for children’s rights to advance implementation of the 2030 Agenda


SRSG Santos Pais participated as the keynote speaker at an event at United Nations headquarters organized by the Permanent Missions of Norway and Chile, and in collaboration with UNICEF, on Strong Child Rights Monitoring.

Ms. Santos Pais highlighted the key role played by Ombuds for children across regions as critical partners in the realization of children’s rights and as independent and influential voices, determined to safeguard the best interests of the child in policy, law and practice. 

The establishment of Ombuds for children is a core dimension of the implementation of the recommendations of the UN Study on Violence against Children and the SRSG remains strongly committed to continuing to support states in this endeavor.

SRSG Santos Pais welcomes growing ratification of the Optional Protocol on a communications procedure


SRSG Santos Pais warmly welcomes the ratification by a growing number of countries of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure. 36 countries have now ratified or acceded to the Optional Protocol, and 51 have signed it.

“Since the Optional Protocol entered into force in 2014, the ratification process has gathered momentum,” said SRSG Santos Pais. “Over the course of this year alone, Brazil, Croatia, Cyprus, Liechtenstein, Panama, Paraguay and Switzerland have all become Parties to the Optional Protocol, demonstrating the growing support enjoyed by this important child rights treaty.”