· South America, as a sub region, has advanced the most in the creation of public policies for the protection of children from violence. Some countries in Central America have introduced good legislative reforms. Despite these positive results, both sub regions still lack sound data reporting systems on violence against children.
· The report identifies challenges, such as the fact that indigenous children are the most exposed to violence, and girls and adolescents continue to be the main victims of sexual violence.
PANAMA CITY, May 8 2014 – The Latin American and Caribbean Movement for Children (MMI-LAC) presented today a new report on Violence Against Children, which includes information from 18 countries in the region. The report recognizes important advances in this area, but also identifies important persisiting challenges to put an end to all forms of violence to which boys, girls, and adolescents are exposed.
Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Violence against Children, participated in the presentation of the report that took place today during MMI-LAC´s annual meeting in which also took part representatives from the UN Children´s Rights Committee, as well as the directors of the main organizations and networks working for children in the region.
Based on consultations with Governments and Civil Society, the report highlights actions taken by 18 countries in Latin America to reduce violence against children through public policy and plans to put an end to violence against children, enactment of legislation banning violence and securing child protection, and consolidation of data.
The report highlights the progress achieved in the countries to adapt their legislations, as well as to promote the ratification of international treaties to reduce violence against children. There are new anti-bullying laws now in place in at least one third of the countries, and the ratification of the Third Protocol of the Convention of the Rights of the Child by Costa Rica and Bolivia. This protocol will allow children in these countries to denounce to the UN possible violations of their rights. At the same time, the biggest challenge faced by most countries is their capacity to register, report and monitor cases of violence against children, and this lack of data makes it difficult to understand the types of violence committed, who the victims are and where they live.
For Marta Santos Pais, there is still a gap in the region between the normative framework of the Convention of the Rights of the Child and the daily reality faced by millions of children, who still identify violence as one of their main worries. “The international negotiation of the future development agenda gives us a unique opportunity to include the elimination of violence against children as a priority objective of sustainable development. This will mobilize resources and efforts that will result in greater advances for children”, she said.
MMI-LAC´s Secretary General and ChildFund International Americas Region Director, Paul Bode, said that “girls and adolescents are the main victims of sexual abuse in the region, and boys and girls of indigenous populations are the most
exposed to violation of their rights”. He also said that “poverty, and extreme poverty, are pending challenges that need to be
taken on as structural causes to eliminate violence against children”.
The report presented today is an important contribution of the 13 main organizations that work for children’s rights in Latin America. The goal is to motivate governments to take even more actions to eradicate violence, as well as provide to a close monitoring of civil society to guarantee the rights of boys and girls of being protected at home, school, and in their communities.
To download the report, the regional infographic, and the infographics of the countries (in Spanish), click here:
About the Latin American and Caribbean Movement for Children The Latin American and Caribbean Movement for Children (MMI-LAC) is a strategic alliance of organizations that work for the promotion, protection and defense of the children and adolescents human rights. Currently is integrated by the Young Men Christian Association (YMCA), SOS Children’s Villages International, ChildFund Alliance, Child Helpline, Defence for Children International (DCI), ECPAT, Inter-American Children’s Institute, Plan International, Red ANDI International, REDLAMYC, Save the Children, UNICEF and World Vision International