High Level Roundtable Meeting
Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Relating to Violence against Children in South Asia
14 – 15, March 2016
Colombo, Sri Lanka
End Violence against Children in South Asia
Colombo, 14 March 2016 – High-level representatives from eight countries in South Asia are meeting in Sri Lanka from 14 to 15 March to renew and strengthen their commitment to end violence against children in the region. In light of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by world leaders in September 2015, the meeting will be the first step towards building a common understanding and regional strategy to reach the Sustainable Development Goals and Targets related to violence against children. In an unprecedented move, the new global development agenda prioritises the prevention of violence against children and recognizes that sustainable development cannot be achieved unless all children live free from fear and violence, leaving no one behind. The participants will review these goals and targets through South Asian lens and pave the way for realization of the vision for an end to violence against children at regional and national levels.
Violence against children is widespread, pervasive and remains a harsh reality for millions of children across the globe. Violent discipline at home and schools is a concern and more so at it is seen as an acceptable behavior by both men and women. Sexual violence is a widespread human rights violation, which affects girls and boys alike. In South Asia, almost one in five girls are married before the age of 15; 12 percent of children between 5 and 14 years of age are child labourers and 28 percent of children under 5 have not had their birth registered. All these threaten children’s survival, development, protection and their ability to reach their full potential.
Violence against children is a violation of human rights. It also has “economic costs” for society. Recent findings in neuroscience demonstrates that toxic stress generated by exposure to violence can damage children’s cognitive and emotional development through disruption of brain development and damage health, learning abilities and positive behaviors which create short and long term cost for the individual, families and society. Furthermore, the perpetuation of cycles of violence can be lifelong, passing from one generation to the next. The cost and economic impact to a country can be staggering, further emphasizing the need to prevent violence from happening.
“We need not to be discouraged by the magnitude of the problem but rather to focus on the solutions that have already proven to bring effective results for children” – Susan Bissell, Director, The Global Partnership to End Violence against Children
“2016 marks the start of the process of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which has a distinct target to eliminate all forms of violence against children. This is a historic achievement! It will give further impetus to the wide social support for children’s protection from violence in South Asia that has been mobilized over the last 10 years. It is high time to end violence against children: we must transform this momentum into an inclusive and unstoppable movement!” – Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Violence against Children
The roundtable meeting is being organised by the South Asia Initiative to End Violence against Children (SAIEVAC) Regional Secretariat in collaboration with the South Asia Coordinating Group on Violence against Children (SACG) under the leadership of ECPAT International and UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children, Marta Santos Pais, will participate in this event and deliver the keynote speech. Dr. Susan Bissell of the new Global Partnership to End Violence against Children will be one of the presenters. The event will be hosted by the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs, Government of Sri Lanka.
About South Asia Initiative to End Violence against Children (SAIEVAC)
SAIEVAC, an Apex Body of the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), is a regional initiative led by the Governments of SAARC Member States in partnership with children, civil society organizations, and the South Asia Coordinating Group on Action against Violence against Children (SACG). SAIEVAC provides an opportunity for collaboration on children’s issues and particularly violence against children, within the larger framework of SAARC. For more information about SAIEVAC and its work visit: http://www.saievac.org.
About South Asia Coordination Group on Action against Violence against Children (SACG)
SACG is a network of the South Asian Initiative to End Violence against Children, UN agencies, INGO’s and other actors engaged in child protection at the regional level. Its vision is that all children in South Asia enjoy their right to protection from all forms of violence in all settings. It does this through coordination and networking, building the evidence base, conducting evidence-based advocacy, promoting monitoring mechanism, and institutionalizing child participation.
ECPAT is a global network of 90 organisations working together in 82 countries for the elimination of all forms of child sexual exploitation. It seeks to ensure that children everywhere enjoy their fundamental rights free and secure from all forms of commercial sexual exploitation. ECPAT has been advocating and speaking on behalf of vulnerable children and child victims of sexual exploitation for the past 25 years, including co-organising three World Congresses against the sexual exploitation of children in Stockholm (1996), Yokohama (2001) and Rio de Janeiro (2008). For more information about ECPAT and its work visit: http://www.ecpat.net.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org.
About the Office of the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Violence against Children (SRSG-VAC)
The mandate of the SRSG-VAC was established through a resolution of the UN General Assembly (62/141) as a global independent advocate in favour of the prevention and elimination of all forms of violence against children. The SRSG-VAC acts as a bridge-builder and a catalyst of actions in all regions, and across all sectors and settings where violence against children occurs. The SRSG-VAC cooperates closely with human rights bodies and mechanisms, UN agencies, and regional inter-governmental organizations. She also promotes cooperation with national governments and institutions, civil society and faith-based organizations, and children and young people. Marta Santos Pais was appointed the first SRSG-VAC in 2009. For more information about the SRSG-VAC and its work visit: www.srsg.violenceagainstchildren.org.
About Global Partnership to End Violence against Children
The Global Partnership to End Violence against Children is a new partnership to bring together global policy makers and child protection experts and accelerate progress toward the ambitious, but achievable, goal of ending violence against children. The Partnership will fulfill three objectives: 1) Build political will to implement a set of interventions that are known to prevent violence against children and help victims; 2) Accelerate action at national level to end violence against children; and 3) Help countries and partners to work together to end violence, share knowledge and success stories, and ignite a global movement to keep children safe. For more information about the Global Partnership to End Violence against Children and its work visit: http://www.end-violence.org.
For further information, please contact:
Ms. Chandani Peiris, Development Officer
Department of Probation and Child Care Services, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Email: email@example.com/ Telephone: +94 713 718 572
Dr. Rinchen Chophel, Director General
South Asia Initiative to End Violence against Children (SAIEVAC), Kathmandu, Nepal
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / Telephone: +977 9803526313
Ms. Dorothy Rozga, Executive Director
ECPAT International, Bangkok, Thailand
Email: email@example.com / Telephone: +66 868 1666868
Ms. Kendra Gregson, Regional Adviser, Child Protection
UNICEF Regional Office of South Asia (ROSA), Kathmandu, Nepal
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / Telephone: +977 980101 30067