CRIN Newsletter 19: Children and Violence

[LONDON, 2 May 2006] - The Child Rights Information Network (CRIN) has recently published its new yearly thematic Newsletter. The last issue focuses on Children and Violence, to coincide with the near completion of the UN Study on Violence Against Children, and its presentation to the UN General Assembly.

To support all those involved in the UN Study and committed to ending violence against children in general, CRIN developed a thematic website to serve as a shared platform for civil society to exert an influence on the Study. This newsletter aims to complement that website by looking at some of the current debates on violence against children while also offering some practical tools for those working with children and for those engaged in campaigning and advocacy.

In his introduction to the Newsleter, Professor Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, the Independent Expert leading the Study, notes that his direct contact with so many children and young people in the course of the Study, and particularly at the regional consultations, has given him a heavy responsibility to ensure that his report does not gather dust on shelves and thereby add to children’s sense of frustration and cynicism concerning adults’ real commitment to their rights.

Professor Pinheiro shows his commitment to placing strong recommendations before States, to revealing in detail the yawning gap between their legal obligations and the reality of most children’s lives, and to securing a strong follow up mechanism for the Study. The Study in itself cannot change children’s lives. But it will make even clearer the responsibility of all those committed to children’s rights to make a reality of the clear standards of the Convention and thus have a real impact on children’s everyday  lives. That is the important challenge for everyone involved.

The Newsletter also contains articles by Jaap Doek, chair of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, and Jo Becker, co-convenor of the NGO Group Subgroup on Violence against Children, who demonstrates the impact of NGO participation in the UN Study process and explains why NGOs are calling for a Special Representative on Violence Against Children as a follow up mechanism to the Study.

An article by Peter Newell, Coordinator of the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children, reveals progress already achieved in making corporal punishment illegal and gives some tips for campaigners on how to pressurise their governments to fulfil their legal obligations.

Florence Martin, Child Protection Adviser at Save the Children UK, takes a look at criminal justice systems and shows how most of them fail to address root causes of violence. A case study by Ravi Karkara and Lena Karlsson, from Save the Children Sweden, looks at ways of addressing gender discriminations and violence against children by working with men and boys. In another case study in South Africa, which is said to have one of the highest levels of sexual assaults in the world, Carol Bower (RAPCAN) explains that what is needed is to ensure children’s rights are respected, promoted – and more importantly – put into practice.

Dick Sobsey then highlights the need for equal standards and treatment of some of the most vulnerable of children: children with disabilities. Ann Birch describes how programmes are helping to address violence faced by children in countries in West Africa that are ravaged by war. Finally, Chris Dodd gives a brief description of efforts made to engage religious leaders and strategies for ending violence against children.

While this newsletter is being published within the framework of the Study, it is meant to inform but also support NGOs in their broader work in this area. 

It will soon be available in Spanish and French. Hard copies of the Newsletter will be sent to all CRIN members in the next few weeks. Those interested in receiving extra copies are invited to contact CRIN.

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    Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.