Panama Declaration commits faith communities across the world to action on ending violence against children

I am delighted to add my support to the Panama Declaration on Ending Violence against Children adopted by over five hundred faith leaders from 70 countries at the 5th Forum of the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC).

Ending violence against children: a shared commitment of faith communities across the world inspired by the voice of children


Panama City, 9 May 2017 – In her keynote speech to the 5th Forum of the Global Network of Religions for Children, devoted to the theme of ending violence against children, the SRSG welcomed the strong commitment of participants to use the special role of religions in society to help bring violence to an end. In her statement delivered at the opening of the Forum, the SRSG recalled that no religious teaching or tradition justifies any form of violence against children, a message that was echoed by leaders from across many faiths who spoke at the Forum, as well as the young representatives from the Children's Pre-forum Meeting.

Children’s protection from violence gains further ground with new legislation in Malaysia and Brazil

SRSG Santos Pais welcomes the passing in Malaysia of the Sexual Offences against Children Bill 2017 - The new law provides for stronger legal protection for children from sexual abuse and exploitation, including a clause that criminalises the grooming of children and significant provisions concerning child sexual abuse material. The new legislation also acknowledges children as competent witnesses in sexual crime cases. “The Sexual Offences against Children Bill, designed to protect all children under 18 years of age from sexual abuse and exploitation, is a welcome step in national efforts to protect children from violence. I commend the Government of Malaysia for enacting the new law and committing to its effective implementation” said Santos Pais.

SRSG Santos Pais commends Buddhist leaders’ commitment to help end violence against children


Bangkok, Thailand, 9 April 2017 – SRSG Santos Pais joined Buddhist leaders from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam to discuss the scale and impact of violence against children and how they could use their special position in society to help bring it to an end. The meeting was organized by Arigatou International, the International Network of Engaged Buddhists and ECPAT International and focused on the role of Buddhist communities in preventing violence against children, in particular the sexual exploitation of children. During two days of discussion, participants identified some of the key challenges in preventing and responding to violence against children and ways in which they could use their leadership position within their communities to raise awareness and promote action.

SRSG Santos Pais calls for increased investment by the corporate sector in protection of children from violence


São Paulo, Brazil 4 April 2017 – SRSG Santos Pais joined leaders from business, government, civil society and academia at the 9th Global Child Forum in São Paulo Brazil. The Forum was devoted to the theme “investing in every child” aimed at identifying and sharing good practices to address some of the most pressing challenges facing children in the South American region.

SRSG Santos Pais called on the private sector to promote innovation and creativity in the protection of children’s rights.

 "To make a real difference we must move beyond principles and commitments towards implementation of practical responses that give young people real opportunities to thrive in life. Business accountability must start with the rights of the child and to their protection from violence.” said Ms. Santos Pais. 

SRSG Santos Pais calls for breaking the silence around the torment of bullying at UN screening of Québécois film “1:54”


New York, 30 March 2017– Speaking at the opening of the special screening of the French-Canadian movie “1:54” held at the United Nations Headquarters, in New York, SRSG Santos Pais commended the significant opportunity provided by this film to raise awareness of the painful reality of children’s exposure to bullying, which is still so often perceived as a rite of passage.

The film, shown during the month of La Francophonie, tells the story of Tim, a 16-year old timid yet brilliant student who suffers from bullying at school. It highlights the importance of addressing violence against children, including physical, emotional and sexual abuse, a topic that is at the heart of the United Nations agenda.

Pope Francis reiterates call for zero tolerance to violence against children in meeting with SRSG Santos Pais


Vatican City, 18 March 2017 – In a private audience at the Apostolic Palace, SRSG Santos Pais met with Pope Francis to enhance cooperation in children's protection from violence.

The Pontiff reiterated his call for a ‘zero tolerance’ policy and reaffirmed the high priority given by the Holy See to protecting the rights of all girls and boys who are victims of violence, neglect, maltreatment, abuse and exploitation. "This is a plague, a hidden scream that should be heard by all of us," highlighted Pope Francis, further recognizing the need to “take all necessary measures to protect in every way the lives of our children, so that such crimes may never be repeated”.

Special Representative Santos Pais congratulates the Chilean Government on the passing of the "Law on the abuse of children and adolescents, the elderly and persons with disabilities”


Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Violence against Children, Marta Santos Pais, warmly welcomes the passing by the Senate of Chile of the "Law on the abuse of children and adolescents, the elderly and persons with disabilities."

This new law provides that an act of corporal abuse that is "relevant" within the meaning of the legislation will be considered a crime. This rule implies a departure from the concept of habitual mistreatment that regulates the domestic violence law already in force in the country, which requires that the abuse cause harm as a result of bodily injury to the victim´s physical integrity.

In addition, this Bill punishes those who subject a person protected by the legislation to degrading treatment that seriously impairs their dignity with the penalty of imprisonment in their minimum degree (61 to 540 days).

Special Representative on Violence against Children places the protection of children from violence at the heart of the debate in the Human Rights Council

SRSG Santos Pais placed the protection of children from violence at the heart of the 34thsession of the Human Rights Council where the rights of the child and large movements of migrants were discussed from 6 to 10 March. 
The annual full-day meeting on the rights of the child on 6 March focused on the protection of the rights of the child in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 2030 Agenda was the central theme also in the SRSG annual report to the Council (A/HRC/34/45), which was presented on 7 March. 

SRSG Santos Pais calls for strengthened regional efforts to keep children’s protection from violence at the heart of implementation of the SDG agenda


Jakarta (Indonesia) - Meeting with the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Children (ACWC), SRSG Santos Pais noted the important foundation provided by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the ASEAN Regional Plan of Action to End Violence against Children, adopted at the 27th ASEAN Summit in November 2015 for translating into reality the ambitious goal of building a world free from fear and from violence for all children.

“Investing in children and violence prevention is a pathway towards sustainable development and a critical step to strengthen peaceful and cohesive societies in the ASEAN region and beyond” highlighted Santos Pais.