LEBANON: Children Call for an End to Violence

[BEIRUT, 24 October 2008] - Today more than 400 children are gathering with representatives from the Government at the UNESCO Palace in Lebanon to present their recommendations for stopping violence against children on Save the Children’s Day of Action, the largest global campaign by children.

Save the Children Sweden and its partners AFEL, AMEL, Blue Mission/TCCD, Dar Al Amal, KAFA, NABAA, the Higher Council for Childhood, the Lebanese Council to Resist Violence against Women, and the Women’s Humanitarian Organization conducted activities with children during the week of October 20th whereby discussions were held about the recommendations by the UN Study on Violence against Children, and publications produced by Save the Children about protection from violence and children’s rights and responsibilities were disseminated and discussed.

Rana Noueiri, Protection Programme Officer at Save the Children Sweden explained the importance of this event – that takes place every year – in highlighting the importance of engaging children in advocacy adding “the Save the Children Day of Action unites children’s voices from all over Lebanon so that they can advocate their concerns to government representatives. Save the children Sweden believes that children have a right to raise awareness about their concerns and hold governments accountable to the promises made to them.”

Children in Lebanon will meet with representatives from the Ministries of Development, Education, Health, Labour, and Social Affairs, and the Internal Security Forces, to voice their opposition to all forms of violence and abuse that adversely affect their physical, emotional and psychological development. Only 2.4 per cent of the world’s children have the same legal protection against violence as adults. 40 million children under the age of 15 are victims of violence every year. 106 countries permit corporal punishment in schools and 147 within alternative care settings. According to a study by Save the Children Sweden, KAFA (Enough Violence and Exploitation), the Ministry of Social Affairs and Higher Council for Childhood, 16.1 per cent of children surveyed in Lebanon were victims of sexual abuse, with most of these abuses occurring at home. Violence against children is a global problem in all parts of the world, in all social settings, and in both peace and conflict situations.

The UN study on Violence Against Children launched in 2006 made recommendations for action by governments and other stakeholders to end violence and provide protection for children. Many of these were reflected in the commitments made by Governments in the UN Omnibus Resolutions of the Rights of the Child in 2006 and 2007 however violence remains a huge problem with devastating effects on millions of children all over the world.

Consequently today children in Lebanon and around the world are reminding governments to live up to their word, to listen to them and involve them in solutions that end violence against them. They are calling upon the government to:
 make ending violence against children a top priority
 ban all forms of violence against children in all settings especially in schools
 create an effective national child protection system

Ruba Khoury, Country Manager in Lebanon for Save the Children Sweden explains “together with our partners we aim to maximize children's meaningful participation in issues regarding them and in promoting national and regional follow-up to their recommendations. The State has the responsibility for fulfilling children’s protection rights through the establishment of national and community-based child protection systems”.


For more information on Save the Children Sweden’s Activities in the Middle East and North Africa Region visit www.scsmena.org

For more information on the Save the Children Global Day of Action visit www.rb.se/eng.



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